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									SHEFFIELD CHILDREN’S NHS FOUNDATION TRUST                                               What does the operation involve?
                                                                                        Under a general anaesthetic a small incision is made in the inguinal (groin)
     PATIENT INFORMATION FOR A CHILD                                                    area, the tube is found and tied off. Fluid from around the testicle is drained.
UNDERGOING HYDROCELE OPERATION (DIVISION                                                All the stitches are buried under the skin and dissolve so they do not need to
     OF PATENT PROCESSUS VAGINALIS)                                                     be removed later.

Signing the consent form                                                                What will happen afterwards / what will the recovery be
Before the operation you will be asked to sign a form to allow the operation to go      like?
ahead. It is very important that you read this form carefully and understand what       Recovery is usually rapid from the operation, especially in younger children.
you are signing. This leaflet is designed to help answer some of the commonly           The area will be sore for a couple of days (usually responds to regular
asked questions about the operation, but if there are any points which are not          paracetamol) but the children are usually back to normal activity within a few
clear, or if there are any other questions arising from the form, you must ask the      days. Older children may experience more discomfort and this group will
doctor before you sign it. In particular be sure to understand what the operation       need to stay away from active sports (except swimming) for 2-3 weeks.
is (it may be written in jargon) and specify any treatment you would not wish to be
performed (e.g. blood transfusion). You should not sign the consent form until          What complications can occur from the surgery?
you are entirely happy with it.                                                         Because the patent processus is close to the spermatic cord these structures
                                                                                        can be damaged but this is rare (well less than 1 in 100). If this were to occur
Children signing the consent form                                                       the testicle may not grow properly (if the blood supply was damaged) or be
We are very keen to involve your child in their operation as fully as possible and      infertile (if the vas deferens which carries the sperm from the testicle was
that they understand (as far as they can) what is going to happen to them. As           damaged, sometimes the testicle can get caught in scar tissue and pulled
part of this we encourage children to sign the consent form in addition to the          back into the groin (less than 1 in 100). Recurrence of the hydrocele is rare.
parents. This is particularly important for older children. However, your child does
not have to sign the form if they are unwilling to do so.                               Will there need to be any medical check up after surgery?
                                                                                        The vast majority of these operations are without problem and the wounds
What is a hydrocele?                                                                    heal well. Because of this your child may not need to be seen again after the
This is a collection of fluid in a sac around or above the testicle. Unlike in adults   operation, but this depends on the surgeon doing the operation.
the fluid comes from the tummy through a fine tube (called a patent processus
vaginalis) which did not close off after the testicle descended from the tummy to
the scrotum.

Why does this operation need to be done?
Hydroceles are common in babies and most will disappear by themselves. If they
have not gone by around the age of 2 years they are very unlikely to get better.
The aim of the operation is to get rid of the fluid and disconnect the tube which
allows the fluid down from the tummy.

What would happen if nothing was done?
The swelling would remain. The hydrocele does not harm the testicle and usually
does not cause discomfort, so it does not have to be treated. However, the
swelling can be quite large and may cause embarrassment for older children.
Information Leaflet number:                   62 (jr/as/06/12/06)
Author/Contact:                             Julian Roberts
                                                                     PATIENT INFORMATION FOR A
                                                                    CHILD UNDERGOING HYDROCELE
                                                                    OPERATION (DIVISION OF PATENT
                                                                        PROCESSUS VAGINALIS)

For Further advice contact:
      Sheffield Children’s NHS Foundation Trust,
            Main hospital number: 0114 271 7000
Patient Advice and Liaison Team
Sheffield Children’s NHS Foundation Trust
Western Bank
S10 2TH

Tel: 0114 271 7594
Trust web site address:

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