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Hydrocele repair (child)

4-minute read

What is a hydrocele?

A hydrocele is a swelling around the testicle caused by a collection of fluid. It is a common problem in children.

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.

Illustration showing a Hydrocele repair (child).
Fluid collecting around a testicle.

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 having the hydrocele or it getting larger as he gets older.

Are there any alternatives to surgery?

A hydrocele usually improves, as the connection will often close within the first few years of life. Surgery is usually recommended if the connection has not closed by the time your child is 2 to 3 years old.

What does the operation involve?

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

Your surgeon will make a cut on the groin.

Your surgeon will find the connection, which is stuck on to the blood vessels that supply the testicle and on to the vas, the tube that will carry sperm away from the testicle. Your surgeon will peel the connection away from these tubes before tying it off.

What can I do to prepare my child for the operation?

Your child should try to maintain a healthy weight. He will have a higher risk of developing complications if he is overweight.

What complications can happen?

Some complications can be serious and can even cause death.

General complications of any operation

  • bleeding
  • infection of the surgical site (wound)
  • allergic reaction to the equipment, materials or medication

Specific complications of this operation

  • developing a collection of blood or fluid under the wound or in the scrotum
  • damage to nerves that supply the skin around the groin
  • damage of the blood supply to the testicle
  • damage to the vas

Consequences of this procedure

  • pain
  • unsightly scarring of the skin

How soon will my child recover?

He should be able to go home the same day.

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

Most children make a full recovery and can return to normal activities.


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. If left untreated, a hydrocele can get larger and is unlikely to get better.


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Last reviewed: September 2023

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