This operation is performed to remove excess fluid around the testicle. In men over 50 fluid can gradually accumulate around the testicle in a small sac called the tunica vaginalis. Reasons for the fluid accumulation are unclear but can be progressive and cause dramatic enlargement of the scrotum on the left or right. This can cause difficulty with daily functioning and work. Patients usually have an ultrasound scan before surgery to check that the testicle is normal and that there are no other findings other than a simple hydrocoele.
The operation is performed under general anaesthetic through a midline cut in the scrotum. The bag around the scrotum is opened up and the excess fluid is drained away and as much of the bag as possible is removed to prevent the fluid returning. The testis is then returned to the scrotum and the wound closed and local anaesthetic applied.
The operation is very safe but some risks include bleeding, infection (5%), pain in the wound for a few days and in 5-10% of men the fluid can recur in the following years. The patient can usually be discharged on the same day and can be followed up by the GP or seen again in 6 weeks for review. Patients should wear supportive underwear for one week and avoid strenuous activity for 1-2 weeks. Driving is allowed once the patient feels comfortable.