What Is It?
A hydrocele is a collection of fluid in the
scrotum. It is most common in infants,
but can happen at any stage of life, for
Why Does This Happen?
In infants it is often caused by fluid that
drains down from the abdomen. During
fetal development, the testicles passed
along this channel and dropped into the
scrotum. If this channel does not close, it
causes one or both of the scrotal sacs to
swell and enlarge. Most often it does not
cause other symptoms or harm to the
Types of Hydroceles
Open (Communicating): With an open
hydrocele, there is an opening between
the abdomen and scrotum. This opening
lets fluid flow freely between the
abdomen and scrotum. This is seen most
often when the scrotum is compressed.
The scrotum may also look smaller in
the morning and larger at night, after
Closed (Non Communicating): With a
closed hydrocele, there is not an opening
between the abdomen and scrotum. The
fluid is always in the scrotum. Closed
hydroceles are most often found in
infants. With older boys or adult males,
a closed hydrocele may need a thorough
evaluation by your provider.
Hydroceles can be absorbed by the body.
If the hydrocele is due to another cause,
or is an open hydrocele, your child may
need surgery to prevent future
If Surgery is Needed
ξ For 2 to 3 days, your child will feel
pain at the incision.
o For pain use prescribed medicine
or over-the-counter medicine such
as acetaminophen (Tylenol®).
ξ You may notice swelling. This
swelling may last for a week.
o Wear a scrotal support as directed
by your provider.
ξ Leave the dressing on for 24 to 48
hours as directed by your provider.
o There are steri-strips over your
child’s incision. These will fall off
in 1 – 2 weeks.
ξ Keep the incision clean and dry
o Your child may shower briefly
after 24 hours. No soaking in a
bathtub, whirlpool, hot tub, or
swimming pool for 1 week or as
directed by your provider.
ξ Check the incision daily and call if
you notice any of these signs.
o Skin around the incision is red and
o Pus-like drainage comes from the
o Temperature is over 100.5º F.
o Increased or new redness or
swelling around the incision.
ξ No strenuous activity until your child
is seen for a follow up urology clinic
If you have any questions or concerns,
please call your clinic or doctor.
Pediatric Urology Clinic, Monday-
Friday, 8:00 am to 4:30 pm:
After hours, nights and weekends, the
clinic number will be answered by the
paging operator. Ask for the Urology
Resident on call. Give the operator your
name and phone number with the area
code. The doctor will call you back.
If you live out of the area, call
Your health care team may have given you this information as part of your care. If so, please use it and call
if you have any questions. If this information was not given to you as part of your care, please check with
your doctor. This is not medical advice. This is not to be used for diagnosis or treatment of any medical
condition. Because each person’s health needs are different, you should talk with your doctor or others on
your health care team when using this information. If you have an emergency, please call 911. Copyright ©
5/2017 University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics Authority. All rights reserved. Produced by the
Department of Nursing. HF#7182