Pediatric Hydrocele

A hydrocele is a fluid-filled sac located around a testicle that causes swelling in a male’s scrotum (pouch of skin that holds the testicles).


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What is a Pediatric Hydrocele?

A hydrocele is a fluid-filled sac that develops around a testicle, which causes swelling in the scrotum. In a healthy baby, the testicles descend (drop) from the baby's developing abdomen into the scrotum. A sac accompanies each of the testicles, which allows fluid to surround the testicles. Once the testicles are in place, each sac closes and the fluid is absorbed. A hydrocele forms when some of this fluid remains.

These are common in newborns and typically disappear on their own within the first year of life. It's possible for older boys and adult men to develop a hydrocele, usually due to inflammation or injury within the scrotum.

How is a Pediatric Hydrocele diagnosed?

Hydroceles are generally smooth and do not cause pain in infants. Large or painful hydroceles may need more immediate attention. Because a hydrocele can resemble an inguinal hernia, doctors make a diagnosis based on a physical examination and a complete medical history. Transillumination can differentiate between a hydrocele and a hernia.

How is a Pediatric Hydrocele treated?

This surgical procedure can be performed through a small incision in the groin or by using the laparoscope (minimally invasive surgery). Depending on the age of your child, some surgeons may recommend looking for a hernia on the other side at the same time as the initial hernia surgery. 

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