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Hydrocele repair (child)

A hydrocele is a swelling around the testicle caused by a collection of fluid.

All boys have a connection between their abdomen and scrotum before they are born. By birth, this connection is usually closed. If it stays open, the fluid that surrounds the bowel may trickle down and collect in the scrotum (see figure 1).

What are the benefits of surgery?

Your child should no longer have the hydrocele.

Are there any alternatives to surgery?

Surgery is usually recommended if the connection has not closed by the time the child is three to four years old.

What does the operation involve?

Most hydroceles in children are repaired through a cut in the groin. The operation is performed under a general anaesthetic. The operation usually takes between half an hour and three-quarters of an hour.

Your surgeon will find the connection and tie it off.

What complications can happen?

1 General complications of any operation

  • Pain
  • Bleeding
  • Infection of the surgical site (wound)
  • Unsightly scarring

2 Specific complications of this operation

  • Developing a lump under the wound
  • Injury to nerves that supply the skin around the groin
  • Damage of the blood supply to the testicle
  • Damage to the vas (tube that carries sperm away from the testicle)

How soon will my child recover?

Most children go home the same day. Your child will usually be well enough to return to school after a week or so. In a small number of cases the hydrocele can come back.


A hydrocele is a common condition where fluid collects around a testicle. Surgery is usually recommended if a hydrocele continues beyond the first three to four years of life.

Paying for your procedure

Hydrocele repair costs are covered by most medical insurance policies, but please check with your insurer first. If you are paying for your own procedure the cost will be explained and confirmed in writing when you book the procedure. Ask the hospital for a quote beforehand, and ensure that this includes the surgeon’s fee, the anaesthetist’s fee and the hospital charge for your procedure.

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Copyright © 2010 Nucleus Medical Art.  This information is produced by EIDO Healthcare Ltd and is licensed by BMI Healthcare.

You may not copy, print out, download or otherwise reproduce any of the information other than for your personal, non-commercial use.

The information should not replace advice that your relevant health professional would give you.


Author: Mr Shailinder Singh DM FRCS (Paed. Surg.) and Mr Jonathan Sutcliffe FRCS

Illustrations: Medical Illustration Copyright © 2009 Nucleus Medical Art. All rights reserved. www.nucleusinc.com

This document is intended for information purposes only and should not replace advice that your relevant health professional would give you.

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