An epididymal cyst (spermatocele) is a fluid filled lump next to the testicle, within the scrotum. Large cysts can be felt as a soft lump separate from the testicle. Epididymal cysts are very common and often appear for no reason.
Epididymal cysts are not dangerous and are not usually a sign of any serious problem. However they can sometimes grow and become uncomfortable or bothersome.
When might you need removal?
Most men will never experience any problem from an epididymal cyst, and can safely leave the cyst alone. Surgery may need to be considered if:
The cyst is causing pain or discomfort.
The cyst is large enough to be a nuisance or embarrassing.
Aspiration of the cyst (removing the fluid with a needle) has an extremely high chance of the cyst recurring in a short period.
How is the procedure carried out?
The operation is usually performed under a general anaesthetic. It is performed as a day-case procedure, which means that you will be allowed home 3-4 hours after you have recovered from your anaesthetic.
A small incision is made in the scrotum. The cyst is removed and some stitches are put inside to stop the fluid returning. Finally, dissolving skin sutures are used to close the wound.
Possible Side Effects
Most procedures are straightforward; however as with any surgical procedure there is a chance of side effects or complications.
Recurrence of the cyst can occur, or new cysts can appear in the future.
Blood collection around the testes (haematoma), which resolves slowly or requires further surgery.
Possible infection of the testes or incision requiring antibiotics.
Chronic scrotal pain.
Shrinkage of testicle due to damaged blood supply.