What is Spermatocele?
It is a painless, fluid-filled spermatic cyst or encysted hydrocele of the testicle or epididymis. It contains sperm that may or may not be alive. It feels like a smooth, firm lump in the scrotum on top of the testicle.
Causes of Spermatoceles :
The exact cause of spermatoceles is not known. However, the following can increase the risk and cause this problem :
*A trauma or inflammation can cause spermatoceles, but these conditions are certainly not required for spermatocele formation
*According to some experts blockage of the efferent ducts and epididymis result in spermatocele formation.
* Sometimes, in utero exposure to diethylstilbestrol (DES), a synthetic form of estrogen, can also be a possible cause.
*Sperm leakage into the scrotal sac due to trauma, prior vasectomy, or infection of the sperm ducts (epididymis) may be responsible for the formation of a spermatocele. However, they often occur in the absence of these events.
*The precise incidence of spermatoceles is unknown, but an estimated 30 percent of all men have small spermatoceles with larger sized spermatococeles being much less common.
*Incidence increases with age, with peak rates for the diagnosis of spermatoceles occurring in men in their forties and fifties. No racial or ethnic predispositions to spermatocele formation are known.
*Often a spermatocele does not cause symptoms. One may notice what looks or feels like an extra lump or mass above the testicle on one side of scrotum, he may notice a general enlargement of your scrotum.
*Symptoms can include pain, swelling, or redness of the scrotum or a feeling of pressure at the base of the penis.
*Spermatoceles are typically discovered through a man’s self-examination of his testicles
A spermatocele is usually diagnosed by examining the scrotum. As part of the examination, your doctor will shine a light behind each testicle (transillumination) to check for solid masses that may be caused by other problems, such as cancer of the testicle. Spermatoceles are filled with fluid, so light will shine through them (transillumination). Light will not pass through solid masses that may be caused by other problems, such as cancer of the testicle. An ultrasound may be used to confirm the diagnosis of a spermatocele.
Treatment of Spermatoceles :
*The condition is not usually dangerous.
*They require treatment only when they cause pain or embarrassment.
*Treatment is also required when, in a rare case, they decrease the blood supply to the penis.
*Oral analgesics or anti-inflammatory agents may be used to relieve pain associated with symptomatic spermatoceles.
* If the spermatocele gets larger or causes discomfort, a procedure to remove the spermatocele (spermatocelectomy) may be needed. It is the standard treatment of symptomatic spermatoceles and involves surgical removal of the spermatocele from the adjoining epididymal tissue.
*Aspiration: It involves puncture of the spermatocele with a needle and withdrawal of its contents into a syringe.
*Sclerotherapy: It is performed with subsequent injection of an irritating agent directly into the spermatocele sac to cause it to heal or scar closed, removing the spermatocele space which theoretically decreases the odds of fluid reaccumulation.