ISSN: 1391 - 0531
Sunday October 21, 2007
Vol. 42 - No 21

Simple surgery can get rid of uncomfortable lump

By Melanie Amarasooriya

One side of the scrotum being larger than the other is a common problem among healthy adults. Although it could be a normal variant, abnormal scrotal lumps are one of the commonest conditions needing surgery. These include, hydroceles, varicoceles, other cysts arising from the testis and related structures.

Even hernias which occur due to abdominal wall weakness at the groin can descend to the scrotum appearing as a scrotal lump. Most of the time, these are harmless, although the cure needs surgery. A hydrocele occurs when clear fluid accumulates between the tissue layers surrounding the testis.

This is a common occurrence in adults, but can be present in infants too. It usually tends to get larger in size with time, but remains painless. Only large hydroceles can cause dragging like discomfort. This lump has a smooth regular surface and you will not be able to feel the testis because the fluid filled tissue layers surround the scrotum. It actually feels like a small fluid-filled balloon inside your scrotum.

Hydroceles occur without any underlying pathology, most of the time. However, a minority may occur due to underlying cancers in the scrotum. Therefore, hydroceles need to be examined by a doctor. Unless it is complicated with an underlying suspicious testicular lump hydroceles necessarily need not be operated.

Surgery is done under regional anaesthesia, where the area below your waist is made numb by giving an injection. The very next day the patient could go home, once the pain goes off and there is no restriction on routine work. However, this treatment is not necessary for infants with hydroceles because they naturally regress with time. Surgery is done only if it persists beyond the age of one or two.

Although hydrocles are common and mostly benign, there may be testicular lumps which need prompt assessment. Therefore always see your family doctor if you notice any abnormality.

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