Hydrocelectomy for Children: What to Expect at Home

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Your Child's Recovery

Hydrocelectomy is surgery to remove a hydrocele. A hydrocele is a fluid-filled sac inside the scrotum. A hydrocele happens when there is an opening between the belly and the scrotum. This allows fluid to pass back and forth between the belly and the scrotum and causes the scrotum to fill with fluid. A hydrocele can happen on one or both sides of the scrotum. The doctor made a very small cut (incision) in your child's groin to drain the fluid inside the hydrocele and remove the fluid-filled sac inside the scrotum.

After surgery, there will no longer be an opening between your child's belly and the scrotum. This will stop fluid from building up in the scrotum.

Your child may act more tired than usual and have some mild groin pain for several days after surgery. Your child's groin and scrotum may be swollen or bruised. This usually gets better in 2 to 3 weeks.

Your child will probably be able to go back to school or daycare 4 to 7 days after surgery. But your child will need to avoid strenuous exercise or heavy lifting for 2 to 4 weeks.

This care sheet gives you a general idea about how long it will take for your child to recover. But each person recovers at a different pace. Follow the steps below to make sure your child gets better as quickly as possible.

How can you care for your child at home?

Activity

  • Allow your child to slowly become more active. Have him rest as much as needed. Make sure he gets enough sleep at night.
  • If your child is old enough to walk, have him try to walk each day. Bit by bit, increase the amount your child walks. Your child may climb stairs. Walking boosts blood flow and helps prevent pneumonia and constipation.
  • Your child may shower 24 hours after surgery, if your doctor says it is okay. Pat the incision dry. Do not let your child take a bath for the first week, or until your doctor tells you it is okay.
  • If your child goes to school or daycare, he may return when he is ready. This is usually in about 4 to 7 days.
  • Do not allow your child to do strenuous activity for 2 to 4 weeks, or until your doctor says it is okay. This includes riding bikes, using sit-on toys, playing running games, wrestling, and taking part in gym class.
  • For 2 to 4 weeks, do not allow your child to lift anything that would make him strain.

Diet

  • Your child can eat his normal diet. If his stomach is upset, try bland, low-fat foods like plain rice, broiled chicken, toast, and yogurt.
  • Have your child drink plenty of fluids.
  • You may notice a change in your child's bowel habits right after surgery. This is common. If your child has not had a bowel movement after a couple of days, call your doctor or nurse call line.

Medicines

  • Your doctor will tell you if and when your child can restart his or her medicines. The doctor will also give you instructions about your child taking any new medicines.
  • Make sure that your child takes pain medicines exactly as directed.
    • If the doctor gave your child a prescription medicine for pain, give it as prescribed.
    • If your child is not taking a prescription pain medicine, ask the doctor if your child can take an over-the-counter medicine.
  • If you think pain medicine is making your child sick to his stomach:
    • Give your child the medicine after meals (unless the doctor has told you not to).
    • Ask your child's doctor for a different pain medicine.
  • Your doctor may prescribe antibiotics. Have your child take them as directed. Do not stop giving them to your child just because he feels better. Your child needs to take the full course of antibiotics.

Incision care

  • If your child has strips of tape on the incision, leave the tape on for a week or until it falls off.
  • Wash the area daily with warm, soapy water, and pat it dry. Don't use hydrogen peroxide or alcohol, which can slow healing. You may cover the area with a gauze bandage if it weeps or rubs against clothing. Change the bandage every day.
  • Keep the area clean and dry.

Follow-up care is a key part of your child's treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if your child is having problems. It's also a good idea to know your child's test results and keep a list of the medicines your child takes.

When should you call for help?

Call 911 anytime you think your child may need emergency care. For example, call if:

  • Your child passes out (loses consciousness).
  • Your child has sudden chest pain and shortness of breath, or he coughs up blood.
  • Your child has severe trouble breathing.

Call your doctor or nurse call line now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • Your child is sick to his stomach or cannot keep fluids down.
  • Your child has pain that does not get better after he takes pain medicine.
  • Your child has a fever over 38°C.
  • Your child has signs of infection, such as:
    • Increased pain, swelling, warmth, or redness.
    • Red streaks leading from the incision.
    • Pus draining from the incision.
    • Swollen lymph nodes in his neck, armpits, or groin.
    • A fever.
  • Your child has loose stitches, or the incision comes open.
  • Bright red blood has soaked through the bandage over your child's incision.
  • Your child's scrotum gets more swollen.

Watch closely for any changes in your child's health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if:

  • Your child does not get better as expected.

Where can you learn more?

Go to https://www.healthwise.net/patientEd

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Current as of: August 12, 2016