If you have a scrotal hydrocele, then you are probably looking forward to treatment so that you don't have to deal with the stinging and aching anymore! Most patients assume that they'll need to have their hydrocele surgically treated, and in fact, this was the norm for many years. Recently, however, more and more doctors have begun treating hydroceles with a procedure called sclerotherapy. This is a really smart option for most patients. Here's a closer look at the use of sclerotherapy for the treatment of scrotal hydroceles.
What is sclerotherapy?
While using sclerotherapy to treat hydroceles is a relatively new approach, sclerotherapy itself is not a new medical procedure. It has been used for decades to treat varicose veins and leaking lymphatic vessels. Basically, a doctor will inject a medication into the vessel, or in this case, the hydrocele. The medication will irritate the vein tissue, or the tissue surrounding your hydrocele, and cause it to collapse. Then, your body will reabsorb that tissue, and your hydrocele will be gone.
Most patients only need one sclerotherapy session, but some need two or three to completely get rid of the hydrocele tissue so a hydrocele does not reform.
Is sclerotherapy painful?
Sclerotherapy can be a bit uncomfortable, especially when performed on a scrotal hydrocele. However, your doctor should apply a numbing cream to your skin prior to the injections, which should reduce the pain. And the injections only take a few seconds.
What are the advantages of sclerotherapy over surgery?
Sclerotherapy comes with fewer risks. There are no incisions, which means there is a much lower risk of infection with sclerotherapy. The healing period is also shorter, both because there are no incisions and because the body is left to reabsorb the dead hydrocele tissue on its own, which is less traumatic.
You also don't have to worry as much about scarring with sclerotherapy. Plus, there is no need for anesthesia, so you can generally drive yourself to and from your appointment.
Are there any risks associated with sclerotherapy?
The main risk is that you'll develop pain, swelling, and soreness near the injection site. This is more common when treating a hydrocele in the scrotum than when treating veins in less-sensitive areas. Thankfully, the symptoms go away within a few days, and icing the affected area and taking pain relievers can help.
If you have a scrotal hydrocele, definitely talk to your doctor about sclerotherapy. It is a safer, less invasive alternative to surgery for most patients.
For more information, contact a sclerotherapy service.