This page will give you information about surgery for benign scrotal lumps. 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 benign scrotal lump?
A benign scrotal lump is a lump in your scrotum that is not caused by a cancer. There are three types.
- A hydrocele, where fluid builds up in the sheath around your testicle.
- An epididymal cyst, where fluid collects in the epididymis (a tube-like structure that stores sperm).
- A sperm granuloma, caused by sperm leaking following a vasectomy.
What are the benefits of surgery?
If the lump is large, surgery will ease any discomfort you may have and make it easier for you to walk.
If you want to have children, it is best to leave an epididymal cyst alone. Surgery in the area of the epididymis can cause scarring which reduces your fertility.
Are there any alternatives to surgery?
The fluid can be removed using a needle but the fluid usually builds up again. It is possible to inject a drug that prevents the fluid from coming back.
What does the operation involve?
The operation is usually performed under a general anaesthetic. The operation usually takes 20 to 50 minutes.
Your surgeon will make a small cut on your scrotum. For a hydrocele, your surgeon will remove the fluid from the sheath and either remove the sheath or stitch it together.
Your surgeon will remove an epididymal cyst. This will usually involve removing part of or all the epididymus.
What complications can happen?
- difficulty passing urine
- infection of the surgical site (wound)
- reduced fertility if the surgery is to treat an epididymal cyst
How soon will I recover?
You should be able to go home the same day or the day after.
Most men can return to normal activities after 2 to 4 weeks.
Regular exercise should help you to return to normal activities as soon as possible. Before you start exercising, ask the healthcare team or your GP for advice.
Sometimes the lump comes back.
A benign scrotal lump is a lump in your scrotum that is not caused by a cancer. Most of them can be left alone but some cause problems and can be treated by surgery.
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Last reviewed: September 2018