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Hydrocele repair (child)

2-minute read

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.

You can also download and print a PDF version of this factsheet, with space for your own questions or notes.

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.

What are the benefits of surgery?

Your child should no longer have the hydrocele. Surgery should prevent your child from having discomfort or embarrassment caused by the hydrocele getting larger as he gets older.

Illustration showing a Hydrocele repair (child).
Hydrocele repair (child).

Are there any alternatives to surgery?

Surgery is usually recommended if the connection has not closed by the time your child is 2 years old.

What does the operation involve?

The operation is performed under a general anaesthetic and usually takes about an hour.

Keyhole surgery can be used to repair a hydrocele but most hydroceles in children are repaired through a cut on the groin.

Your surgeon will find the connection and tie it off.

What complications can happen?

General complications

  • pain
  • bleeding
  • unsightly scarring
  • infection of the surgical site (wound)

Specific complications

  • developing a collection of blood or fluid
  • injury to nerves
  • damage of the blood supply to the testicle
  • damage to the tube that carries sperm

How soon will my child recover?

Your child should be able to go home the same day.

They will usually be well enough to return to school after 1 to 2 weeks.

For a small number of children the hydrocele comes back.


A hydrocele is a common condition where fluid collects around a testicle. Surgery is usually recommended if a hydrocele continues beyond the second year of life.

The operation and treatment information on this page is published under license by Healthdirect Australia from EIDO Healthcare Australia and is protected by copyright laws. Other than for your personal, non-commercial use, you may not copy, print out, download or otherwise reproduce any of the information. The information should not replace advice that your relevant health professional would give you.

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Last reviewed: September 2018

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