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hydrocoele repair

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Male reproductive organs

Alternative Names 

A hydrocoele repair is a surgical procedure performed to remove a fluid-filled mass in the scrotum, called a hydrocoele.

Who is a candidate for the procedure? 
A male who has a hydrocoele but is in otherwise good health is a candidate for this procedure.

How is the procedure performed? 
This operation is done in the hospital under general anaesthesia, regional anaesthesia or local anaesthesia. General anaesthesia means the person is put to sleep with medications. Regional anaesthesia means the person will be awake, but numb below the waist. Local anaesthesia involves injecting medications into an area of the body to numb it. First, a small cut is made in the scrotum. The fluid is drained from the hydrocoele. Next, the testicle and the hydrocoele sac are brought out of the scrotum. The hydrocoele sac is sometimes removed completely. This technique reduces the size of the scrotum to a greater extent but the technique carries a higher risk of the formation of a blood clot, or haematoma. The alternative is to fold the sac behind the testicle. Following the surgery, the testicle is placed back into the scrotum and the skin is stitched shut. A drain is sometimes placed into the scrotum.

What happens right after the procedure? 
After the surgery, the person will be taken to the surgery recovery room to be watched closely for a short time. Vital signs, blood pressure, pulse, and breathing will be checked frequently. A bulky dressing and scrotal support will be applied.

What happens later at home? 
The person is usually allowed to leave the same day surgery centre on the day of the operation. He may experience some uncomfortable swelling of the scrotum for several weeks following the operation. The incision should be cleaned gently with soap and water. The bandages should also be changed as necessary.

What are the potential complications after the procedure? 
There are complications with any surgery or anaesthesia. These include bleeding, infection, and reactions to the anaesthesia medications. The main complication for hydrocoele repair is the formation of a haematoma, or blood clot. The risk of this is somewhat determined by the surgical technique used. It can also be brought on if the man is too active following the surgery. Another risk for the surgery is infertility, or the inability to impregnate a woman. The vas deferens and epididymis, structures that carry sperm from the testes, can be injured in the course of the operation. Men for whom fertility is important should discuss this risk with the surgeon before the operation.

Author: Stuart Wolf, MD
Reviewer: eknowhow Medical Review Panel
Editor: Dr John Hearne
Last Updated: 2/2/2005
Potential conflict of interest information for reviewers available on request

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