Pediatric Hydrocele

  • Medical Author:
    John Mersch, MD, FAAP

    Dr. Mersch received his Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of California, San Diego, and prior to entering the University Of Southern California School Of Medicine, was a graduate student (attaining PhD candidate status) in Experimental Pathology at USC. He attended internship and residency at Children's Hospital Los Angeles.

  • Medical Editor: David Perlstein, MD, MBA, FAAP
    David Perlstein, MD, MBA, FAAP

    David Perlstein, MD, MBA, FAAP

    Dr. Perlstein received his Medical Degree from the University of Cincinnati and then completed his internship and residency in pediatrics at The New York Hospital, Cornell medical Center in New York City. After serving an additional year as Chief Pediatric Resident, he worked as a private practitioner and then was appointed Director of Ambulatory Pediatrics at St. Barnabas Hospital in the Bronx.

Quiz: Your Baby's First Year!

Hydrocele facts

  • While hydroceles may occur in either gender, they are much more common in males.
  • A hydrocele is a collection of clear fluid in a thin walled sack present in the scrotum.
  • Hydroceles may be either one sided or occupy both sides.
  • Hydroceles are painless, soft swellings and may be either present at birth (congenital) or develop later.
  • A very large majority of hydroceles present at birth resolve spontaneously by one year of age.
  • Hydroceles that are not congenital or those still present after one year of age generally warrant surgical correction.
  • There are other conditions that must be considered when evaluating a boy with chronic, non-tender scrotal swelling. These include hernia, varicocele and tumor. Physical examination is very helpful in sorting through these options. Rarely are diagnostic or invasive studies necessary.

What is a hydrocele?

A hydrocele is a scrotal collection of clear fluid ("hydro" = water) in a thin walled sack ("cele" = swelling) that also contains the testicle. Less frequently, due to the common embryological background of male and female gonadal structures, female children or women may also experience a hydrocele. In this case, the sack and connection exist in the labia majora (the outermost and larger of the two labial structures). Because of less potential concern for complications in females with hydroceles, this article will focus predominantly on the male gender. A hydrocele may involve either one side (unilateral) or both sides (bilateral) of the scrotum.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 2/20/2015
VIEW PATIENT COMMENTS
  • Hydrocele - Types and Features

    Please describe your experience with a hydrocele, including its type and physical features.

    Post View 4 Comments
  • Hydrocele - Treatment

    What was the treatment for your child's hydrocele? Was surgery required?

    Post View 4 Comments
  • Hydrocele - Other Swelling Conditions

    Was your child diagnosed with another type of scrotal swelling? Please discuss your experience.

    Post View 1 Comment

Health Solutions From Our Sponsors