Testing & Diagnosis for Hydrocele in Children

LIke ThisLIke ThisLIke ThisLIke ThisLIke This

How is a hydrocele diagnosed?

Your son's doctor will likely notice his scrotum is swollen. Often, the testicle can't be felt because of the fluid surrounding it.

A hydrocele can then be easily diagnosed by shining a light through the scrotum. If the scrotum is full of fluid, it will light up. The doctor may want to perform an ultrasound to confirm the diagnosis and check the testis on the side suspected of having a hydrocele.

How will my son's hydrocele be treated?

Young Children

Closed hydroceles usually go away with time in infants. If the hydrocele has not disappeared by the time your son turns 1 or becomes very large, he may need surgery. Communicating hydroceles, persisting for more than six months, generally require surgery to prevent future complications.

You will see both the surgeon and the anesthesiologist before the operation on the day of surgery. Your son will receive general anesthesia, so he will feel no pain.

  • A small incision is made in the groin, and the surgeon empties the fluid from the sac and then, removes the channel.
  • The muscle wall is reinforced with stitches.

Teenage Boys

Teenage boys with adult hydroceles have surgical repair performed through an incision in the scrotum. The surgical site is typically protected for a few days with a supporter and gauze dressings.

Most children go home the same day as the operation. However, some spend a night in the hospital for observation. After surgery, your son will stay in the recovery room until he is ready to go home. Parents are welcome to stay with their children in the recovery room.

What happens after the surgery?

  • The nurse in the recovery room will show you how to care for your son at home. He or she will also give you written instructions.
  • Most children have some pain after surgery, so your child's doctor may prescribe some pain medicine.
  • There are usually no stitches to remove. The stitches are under the skin and dissolve on their own.
  • A clear, waterproof bandage will cover the incision in the groin area.
  • Your son may shower or have a sponge bath at home. Do not give your child a tub bath or allow swimming until seven days after surgery.
  • Your son should not use straddle toys or bicycles, play sports, or go to gym class for three weeks after surgery.
  • Your doctor will want to see your son about two weeks after the surgery to check how the area is healing.
We are grateful to have been ranked #1 on U.S. News & World Report's list of the best children's hospitals in the nation for the third year in a row, an honor we could not have achieved without the patients and families who inspire us to do our very best for them. Thanks to you, Boston Children's is a place where we can write the greatest children's stories ever told.”
- Sandra L. Fenwick, President and CEO

Boston Children's Hospital
300 Longwood Avenue, Boston, MA 02115
For Patients: 617-355-6000
For Referring Providers: 844-BCH-PEDS | 844-224-7337