Hydrocele - Overview
Processus vaginalis; Patent processus vaginalis
Definition of Hydrocele:
A hydrocele is a fluid-filled sack along the spermatic cord within the scrotum.
Causes, incidence, and risk factors:
Hydroceles are common in newborn infants.
During normal development, the testicles descend down a tube from the abdomen into the scrotum. Hydroceles result when this tube fails to close. Fluid drains from the abdomen through the open tube. The fluid builds up in the scrotum, where it becomes trapped. This causes the scrotum to become swollen.
Hydroceles normally go away a few months after birth, but their appearance may worry new parents. Occasionally, a hydrocele may be associated with an inguinal hernia.
Hydroceles may also be caused by inflammation or injury of the testicle or epididymis, or by fluid or blood blockage within the spermatic cord. This type of hydrocele is more common in older men.
- Reviewed last on: 12/15/2010
- Erik T. Goluboff, MD, Professor, Department of Urology, College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University, New York, NY. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.
Sandlow JI, Winfield HN, Goldstein M. Surgery of the scrotum and seminal vesicles. In: Wein AJ, ed. Campbell-Walsh Urology. 9th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007:chap 34.
Schneck FX, Bellinger MF. Abnormalities of the testes and scrotum and their surgical management. In: Wein AJ, ed. Campbell-Walsh Urology. 9th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007:chap 127.
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