Page header image

Hydrocele

Admission Information and Discharge Instructions

What is a hydrocele?

A hydrocele is a collection of fluid in the scrotum, the sac that holds the testicle. Your child's scrotum may look larger on one side or may appear very swollen. This is caused by a build-up of fluid. This build-up of fluid occurs fairly frequently in male newborns. Usually the fluid will be absorbed by the body during the first year of life.

Sometimes the hydrocele is connected by an open channel to the belly. This open channel allows fluid to continue to flow into the scrotum. This type of hydrocele needs to be fixed with an operation. If your baby is older than 1 year and still has a large hydrocele, or if your doctor has told you that your baby has a communicating hydrocele or an inguinal hernia, your baby will need an operation.

What happens during the surgery?

The surgery to fix a hydrocele is a minor procedure that is done in day surgery and takes about 1 and 1/2 hours. Your child will not need to stay overnight at the hospital. Your child will be given general anesthesia and will be asleep for the procedure. A small cut is made in your baby's groin area and the doctor closes the open channel.

Your doctor may want to look at the other scrotal channel to see if it has closed properly. This can usually be done with a laparoscope, a telescopelike instrument. Your doctor will discuss this with you before the operation. Once your child is awake and able to drink fluids, he can go home.

How can I take care of my child?

  1. Care of Incision

    After surgery, your child will have a small incision in the groin on the side(s) operated on. The incision was closed under the skin using stitches that dissolve on their own and don't need to be removed. On the skin there are strips of tape or skin glue to help the skin heal smoothly with minimal scarring. These will peel off in 5 to 10 days. Don't pull them off.

    There may be bruising in the groin around the incision and bruising and swelling in the scrotum. This is normal and will go away in 1 to 2 weeks. The incision does not require any special care. You may want to avoid clothing that fits snugly over this area. You can use a small gauze bandage to protect the incision from being irritated by clothes if that is more comfortable.

  2. Pain Control

    Your child may need medicine the first few days after surgery for pain control.

    Your child's pain medicine is ______________________. Give __________ every ______ hours as needed.

  3. Activity

    Children will limit their activity if they are uncomfortable. Your child may resume his normal activities whenever he feels ready. School-age children may miss 3 to 4 days of school. Your child should not ride on straddle toys or bicycles for a week. Rough play should also be avoided for several days.

  4. Bathing

    Your child may bathe after 48 hours. Baths help the area heal and make the sore area feel better.

  5. Diet

    Your child may eat what he wants. Encourage your child to drink fluids.

  6. Additional Instructions
    • _______________________________________________________
    • _______________________________________________________
    • _______________________________________________________
  7. Follow-up Appointment After Discharge

    Your child needs to be rechecked and has an appointment on ______________ at ________ o'clock with _______________________.

Call Your Doctor If:

  • Your child has pain that is not controlled by pain medicines.
  • Your child has a fever greater than 101F (38.3C).
  • Your child has any bleeding from the wound not stopped by 5 minutes of direct pressure.
  • Your child has pus draining from the wound or a large red area around the wound.
  • Your child has not urinated in a 12-hour period.
Written by Randi Price RN, MSN, CPNP and reprinted by permission of The Children's Hospital, Denver, CO.
Published by McKesson Provider Technologies.
Last modified: 2006-02-07
Last reviewed: 2006-02-06
This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes available. The information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a healthcare professional.
Copyright 2006 McKesson Corporation and/or one of its subsidiaries. All Rights Reserved.
Page footer image