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A scrotal cyst is a mass that develops in the scrotum of a male patient and may contain fluid. The scrotum is a sac that contains two male reproductive organs known as testicles. Men can develop several types of scrotal masses, including hydroceles, spermatoceles and testicular cancer tumors. Scrotal cysts may cause pain in the scrotum, while some male patients have scrotal masses that are painless.
Males with a hydrocele have a mass filled with fluid that is located along the spermatic cord in the scrotum. This type of scrotal cyst may occur after an injury to the scrotum or as a result of inflammation in the testicles or scrotum. Hydroceles can also develop from a blockage of blood or other fluid in the spermatic cord. Older men generally have an increased risk of developing a hydrocele due to spermatic cord blockage. This kind of scrotal mass may also be caused by an inguinal hernia.
Newborn male infants can develop hydroceles due to improper development of the male reproductive organs. The testicles of normal newborn males typically travel down a tube from the abdomen into the scrotum. A hydrocele may grow in the scrotum when this tube does not close after the testicles have completed their descent. Fluid from the abdomen can flow into a male patient's scrotum and cause a scrotal cyst to develop. In most cases, this type of cyst goes away within a few months of birth.
Hydroceles typically cause a swollen testicle and tend to be painless. Many hydroceles are not treated unless they cause discomfort or disrupt the testicle’s blood supply. Doctors can use an aspiration procedure to remove fluid from a hydrocele with a needle. In some instances, medication is injected into a hydrocele to prevent future fluid accumulation. Physicians may correct hydroceles with other surgical procedures.
Spermatoceles, also known as epididymal cysts or spermatic cysts, develop in the scrotum above a testicle and are generally painless. This type of scrotal cyst typically contains dead sperm cells and is about the size of a pea. A spermatocele may develop without any previous infection or injury. Physicians may treat some spermatoceles by surgically removing the cysts.
Testicular cancer tumors are malignant scrotal masses that typically cause a lump in the scrotum. These tumors may develop without symptoms, or they can cause scrotal swelling and pain in the scrotum that radiates throughout the groin area. Teenage boys and young men usually have a greater risk of developing testicular cancer. Testicular cancer is often treated with surgical removal of an affected testicle and the spermatic cord. Physicians may also use radiation therapy or chemotherapy to treat cancer of the testicles.