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Hydrocele Repair (child)

This page will give you information about a hydrocele repair. If you have any questions, you should ask your GP or other relevant health professional.

What is a hydrocele?

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


All boys have a connection between their abdomen and their 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).


a Normal development b An open connection causing a hydrocele

Figure 1 


a Normal development

b An open connection causing a hydrocele 

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

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

2 Specific complications

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

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.


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

Illustrations: Medical Illustration Copyright © 2011 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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