Another successful hydrocele operation (hydrocelectomy)

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In searching for info on hydroceles, the first forum I ran across with very helpful information was in the UK, so now that I've had my hydrocele operation, I'll post my experience here as well. And thank you to the forum people for making postings available to search engines.

I'm in the US, and nobody over here is smart enough to figure out how you guys measure anything with your strange units like meters and fortnights, but presumably personal plumbing works the same way on both sides of the pond no matter what the size.wink

My hydrocele started several years ago, and had been getting slowly larger, and was the size of a large apple on one side. I'm presuming that your apples are the same size as ours of course. It never hurt, it just felt somewhat uncomfortable and in the way sometimes. And it felt kind of tight and full and I figured that someday I'd have to take care of it. I decided to do the operation probably six months ago and waited 6 months to better fit into my work schedule.  On a pain scale of 1 to 10, I'd put having the hydrocele at a 1.

One advantage of having a hydrocele is that if I were thinking about doing some outrageous task and somebody questioned whether I had large enough balls to do it (an expression here in the states if not over there), I now had the medical documentation to prove that yes, in fact, I do. Or at least did.

As a slight aside, one of the valuable lessons I learned was that there are two types of doctors that best serve two different types of patients.

The first type of doctor wants patients that are completely obedient and don't ask questions and don't make any decisions contrary to the doctor's recommendation.

The second type of doctor I'd characterize as an "expert partner" who is happy to answer questions and get push-back on recommendations and discuss alternatives to fit their patients' needs.

I unknowingly happened to pick the first type. His recommendation was to do the operation and that I should not lift anything heavier than 20 lbs (you guys still know what pounds are, right?) for 6 to 8 weeks! That would not work for me because part of my job is lifting patients in and out of an airplane.

I eventually chose another doctor who was the second type, and whose recommendation was for the same operation, but he said that after 5 or so days, I could basically do whatever I felt like doing. I asked why the other prognosis was so different and he said that the long healing was 'old school' which is ironic because I think the first doctor was younger than the second. Alternatively, maybe the second doctor does a better job than the first, and as a result, would get faster healing. I don't know.  I followed the standard process for dealing with any

bureacracy, keep calling back until you get the answer you want.

The second doctor also said that the vitamin regimen I'd gotten from a nutritionist was not useful based on double-blind testing. And that includes Saw Palmetto for prostate stuff which has been touted for centuries. But he wasn't opposed to my taking the vitamins and for my trying acupuncture first. He did advise not taking a couple of the supplements, Omega Oil and Gincko Baloba (as did the nutritionist) near my operation because they thin the blood. It also didn't hurt that he looked exactly like Steve Martin the famous comedian.

Acupuncture is the only thing I've found that helps occasional lower back spasms, but it did not seem to do anything for the hydrocele.

I'd never had surgery before and so of course was apprehensive, and all the talk about icing, pain meds, etc., didn't help any. But thanks to the posting on the forum by "Dougie", my reticence was reduced. https://patient.info/forums/discuss/successful-hydrocele-operation-37043

I had the surgery (only about 1/2 hour long) yesterday, and it's now been about 24 hours, and I can say that my pain level from when I came out until now has always been about 1.5, really nothing more than a mild discomfort even from the stitches. I was also apprehensive because he said he might give me a local anesthetic shot while I was under, so if that were true, it might wear off in a few hours and I'd be screaming bloody murder, but that never happened. I haven't even bothered to fill the prescription for pain meds.

The swelling is less than the original hydrocele, tho I haven't checked it very carefully because he said to leave a jock strap with dressings on for 72 hours and no bathing to give the stitches a chance to heal.

So basically, at least for me, the operation was pleasantly quite minor, much less of a pain than having a tooth pulled.

One useful tip I discovered is that I try to avoid bending the "plumbing" when I pee so I don't perturb the healing, so it kind of dribbles a bit down the front at the end. I found the best solution for me is to stand over the toilet, feet in back of the toilet, and my head leaning against the wall so that I'm at an angle, thereby giving the natural direction is as close to vertical as possible and that eliminates the dribble running down at the end. Just be careful if you're standing on a rug that might be slippery, it could make for a bad day.

Bottom line is that if you decide to do it, the operation, at east for me, wasn't anywhere near the big deal I was afraid of. Hopefully you'll have a similar experience.

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10 Replies

  • Posted

    I spoke a little bit too soon. Beginning at some number of hours into the second day, the stitches are hurting a bit more sometimes but I've been told that's normal for stitches as they heal and become stiffer. If I lie very still the pain level goes to 0, but when I get up or move around, it goes up to a 2 or maybe occasionally to a 3, not enough to need to consider pain meds, but still more than the first day. But it seems to be progressing well.

     

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  • Posted

    Last update - it's been about 17 days. From my experience, plan on spending 7 days as much time as possible in a horizontal position. It's the position that's the least painful and not enough pain to need meds. Then plan on the next 7 days being able to get up and walk around a bit without major discomfort but still not doing much. Lying down and walking are OK, but standing in place gets pretty uncomfortable. Then after 14 days total, it's mostly just overly sensitive, I can pretty much do anything I want, I just have to be careful not to put pressure on anything, like if I squat or bend over, pants can tend to bunch up and squeeze things. That hurts a bit, but except for that, the pain has pretty much gone away.
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  • Posted

    One more addendum. I saw the doctor for a checkup to make sure everything was healing properly, and he said that I had both a hydrocele and a spermatocele. Hydroceles apparently are easy to fix, but hydrocele requires a good bit more fiddling and is more invasive, and that dictates the time required to heal. So if I had had just a hydrocele, I would have healed faster.
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  • Posted

    Opps, sorry, that should be "spermatocele requires a good bit more fiddling"
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    • Posted

      I know this post is a bit old but has all your swelling gone down? Im about 10 weeks post hydrocelectomy and my nut is still quite swollen. I saw my doc 5 weeks ago and he didnt seem concerned and doesnt want to see me till December but im still kinda freaked out about it.
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    • Posted

      Sorry - just noticed your reply when somebody else asked something. Hopefully your question is now moot. :-)

      But 10 weeks post surgery sounds a bit much - more than my experience as I mentioned above. Maybe something else is going on, ask your doc for details as to why, don't settle for just a "not concerned".

      I'd trust your doc. If you don't, you should probably get another doc, or at least get a 2nd opinion.

      It took me 2 tries to get one that I liked (as I mentioned in my initial posting), and I found the one I liked fortunately before the op. And so the second one was the one that did the op.

       

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    • Posted

      Thsnk you for your reply I ended up havinb a second surgery as they did an ultrasound and the Dr said some fluid had returned. Upon waking from the second surgery the Dr said he was surprised that the swelling was only about 10-15% fluid the rest was my actual testicle. When I asked him how my testicle could grow 2 times its normal size at the age of 38 he said he didnt know. So here I am 5 months after my second surgery and my testicle is STILL the size of a golf ball and feels quite heavy. Needless to say I am not pleased and have not returned to that Dr, I am going to wait another month as I have read that sometimes it can take up to 6 months for residual swelling to subside before seeking 2nd opinion. This has totally ruined my life as I had my right testicle removed at the age of 13 due to miss diagnosed torsion. I had a fake one put in that wasn't terribly noticeable but now it doesnt even look somewhat normal.
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    • Posted

      Sounds like you have other heavy-duty stuff going on, I didn't have any of that. I was told that in some operations, the swelling could return requiring another operation, but in my case it didn't.

      Seems like getting a second opinion (you're ugly too! :-) would be the way to go.

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  • Posted

    Paul, are you still there? You say you had a spermatocele too. What were your symptoms? I think I may have a spermatocele since initially I had bumpy nodules on top of my testicle, where the sperm-storing epididymis resides. These nodules (swollen sperm tubules?)   were covered by the hydrocele after about 2 weeks or so. I've had the hrydrocele now for about a year and 3 months.     
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    • Posted

      I don't think you can tell from symptoms (which was just swelling anyway), and besides, does it really matter? The remedy is the same (from your perspective). Step 1: show up for the operation. Step 2: get put under. Step 3: wake up. :-)

      Even urologist (and I was impressed with his experience) could not tell until the operation at least in my case. And whether it's spermatocele or hydrocele, the operation should solve the problem.

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