Kidney, Reproductive and Urinary Conditions
Neither type of hydrocele is dangerous.
- Communicating hydroceles are usually fixed with surgery because they can lead to hernias. Doctors usually recommend surgery at the time of diagnosis.
- Simple hydroceles usually go away on their own. Doctors consider surgery for simple hydroceles only if the hydrocele is still present when the child reaches their first birthday.
Surgery for Hydrocele
Doctors treat a communicating hydrocele like a hernia. This surgery is called hydrocelectomy (pronounced hi-druh-see-LEK-tuh-mee).
If your child has surgery, he will get medicine (general anesthesia) to make him sleep without pain during the surgery. The doctors at Seattle Children's who give your child anesthesia are board certified in pediatric anesthesiology. This means they have extra years of training in how to give anesthesia to children safely.
Your child's surgeon will make a small cut (incision) in the crease between the leg and the lower belly. Then the surgeon will drain the fluid and sew the sac closed. Finally, the surgeon will sew up the incision in the skin. This is not like surgery for an adult hernia, where plastic mesh is needed. All your child needs is to have the sac sewn closed.
The surgery takes about 30 minutes. Your child will be in the recovery room for another hour or so. In most cases, you can take your child home the same day he has surgery.
After Surgery for Hydrocele
We will give your child pain medicine to make him comfortable. You will need to keep the incision clean and dry until it heals. Your child's surgical team will teach you how to care for the incision. They will also talk with you about limiting your child's activity level, if needed.
A surgery clinic nurse will call you 5 to 7 days after surgery for a phone follow-up. If all is well, you do not need to return to the surgery clinic. If you or the nurse has any concerns about your child's healing, we will set up a visit for you.
If you have questions about hydrocele treatment, call our General and Thoracic Surgery Department at 206-987-2794, extension 4.