An epididymal cyst is a collection of fluid in a sac, arising from a tubule of the epididymis. This is the structure that carries sperm from the testicle to the vas. These cysts are quite common, and usually do not require treatment, unless they are very large and cause inconvenience or discomfort.
Treatment is by surgical removal, but most urologists will tend to avoid this in younger men who have not completed their families, as reduced fertility is a rare side effect. Even in older men who do not want further children, the operation itself can occasionally produce more long-term discomfort (the scrotum is a delicate area) than the cyst itself. However, these matters require discussion with your urologist.
What does the operation involve?
Under general anaesthetic, a cut is made in the scrotum on the affect side, and the cyst is removed from the epididymis. The operation takes about half-an-hour, and dissolvable stitches are used to close the cut. You will be given local anaesthetic into the site of the operation while you are asleep, and this will wear off over 8 to 12 hours.
After the operation
You will normally be able to go home the same day. Make sure someone can take you home, and stay with you for 24 hours.
Do rest at home for the first 48 hours, and don’t do anything physically demanding for this time. In fact, it is wise to wear supportive underwear and avoid strenuous lifting or activity for a week.
Simple painkillers should be taken for any discomfort.
Potential side effects and complications
All procedures have the potential for side effects. Although these complications are well recognised, the majority of patients do not have problems after a procedure.
Risks of the anaesthetic need be discussed with the anaesthetist who will be looking after you during the operation, and who will visit you beforehand.
There are specific risks with this surgical procedure, and these will be discussed with you before your procedure. As a guide to complement that one-on-one discussion with your surgeon, these include:
- Swelling of the scrotum lasting that may last for several days
- Discomfort requiring antibiotics
- Recurrence of the cyst
- Blood collection around the testes which resolves slowly or requires another operation to drain it
- Possible infection of the incision or the testis requiring antibiotics or another operation to drain the infection.
- Scarring of the epididymis, which can cause infertility
- Long term pain in the testicle or scrotum
This information is intended as an educational guide only, and is here to help you as an additional source of information, along with a consultation from your urologist. The information does not apply to all patients.
Not all potential complications are listed, and you must talk to your urologist about the complications specific to your situation.