A hydrocelectomy is also often referred to as a hydrocele repair. It is surgery performed to correct a hydrocele. This occurs when excess fluid accumulates in a testicle. More specifically, the fluid accumulates in a membrane that surrounds the testes. The membrane is called the tunica vaginalis, and the fluid is called peritoneal fluid.
Hydroceles only occur in male patients. A doctor may diagnose an infant boy with a hydrocele at birth. Older men also tend to acquire this condition. The most obvious sign of a hydrocele is swelling of the patient's scrotum.
Not all hydroceles require a hydrocelectomy. A child's hydrocele may go away on its own, usually by the time the patient is two years old. An adult male's hydrocele, however, typically will not dissipate. Adults with a hydrocele will require periodic check-ups. The doctor may recommend a hydrocelectomy if the condition interferes with blood circulation, it becomes enlarged, or if it causes discomfort or pain.
A hydrocelectomy requires general anesthesia, which will render the patient unconscious. Due to the anesthesia, patients generally need to refrain from eating or drinking for at least six hours prior to the surgery. Additionally, patients should fully disclose all other medical conditions, allergies, and medications or supplements they are taking to the surgeon. Some medications may need to be discontinued before the surgery, such as drugs that may interfere with blood clotting.
The exact procedure of the hydrocelectomy differs slightly, depending on whether the patient is a small child or an adult. With a child, the surgeon will make a small incision in the fold of the patient's groin. The incision on an adult will typically be made on the scrotum.
After the incision, the surgeon will drain the fluid from the hydrocele. Usually, the doctor will also remove all, or part, of the sac that contains the peritoneal fluid. The site is then usually closed with stitches.
A hydrocelectomy is generally considered to be a minor procedure. Most patients are able to be released from the hospital a few hours after surgery. Typically, both child and adult patients should rest for about a week following the operation. Patients should report back to the doctor for follow-up appointments, so that the doctor can check the incision for proper healing.
Risks or complications from a hydrocelectomy are rare. Some patients may experience an adverse reaction to the anesthesia. Others may experience excessive bleeding. In some cases, the patient's fertility may be adversely affected. It is also possible for a hydrocele to re-form and require subsequent treatment.