WHAT IS A HYDROCELE?
A hydrocele is fluid around the testicle that causes the scrotum to look swollen. Hydroceles are painless and are typically found in newborn boys, especially premature babies. You may notice a hydrocele when one of your child’s testicles looks larger than the other.
We typically diagnose two types of hydroceles – communicating and non-communicating.
- A non communicating hydrocele is usually found in newborn boys. In the eighth month of pregnancy, the testicles move down into the scrotum, bringing a fluid filled sac with it, which surrounds the testicles. In normal development, the sac closes before birth and the fluid is absorbed naturally. A non communicating hydrocele occurs when this sac closes but the fluid remains. We typically watch this kind of hydrocele over the course of your baby’s first year as in the majority of cases, the fluid is absorbed over time with no intervention necessary.
- Communicating hydroceles represent a neonatal hernia.
A hydrocele is not painful or harmful to your son, but you or your child's doctor may notice that his scrotum is swollen. The fluid surrounding the testicle makes it difficult for your baby’s doctor to feel the testicle inside the scrotum. Oftentimes, the doctor will take a small flashlight and shine the light on your baby’s scrotum.
HOW IS A HYDROCELE TREATED?
If your baby has a non communicating hydrocele, we typically take a wait and see approach as the majority of these hydroceles go away on their own over time. If the hydrocele is still present at age one or gets larger with time, then our specialists will discuss surgery with you.
If we determine that your son has a comunicating hydrocele through examination, surgery for this hernia is often recommended.