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Spermatocele (Epididymal Cyst)

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Spermatocele (Epididymal Cyst)

Condition Basics

What is a spermatocele?

A spermatocele (epididymal cyst) is a fluid-filled cyst in the long, tightly coiled tube that lies above and behind each testicle (epididymis). It feels like a smooth, firm lump in the scrotum on top of the testicle. Having a spermatocele doesn't affect fertility.

What causes it?

Although the cause of a spermatocele is often unknown, it may be caused by obstruction of the tubes that carry sperm from the testicles (epididymal ducts).

What are the symptoms?

Often a spermatocele does not cause symptoms. There may be an extra lump or mass above the testicle on one side of your scrotum. Or you may notice enlargement of your scrotum. Symptoms, when present, can include pain, swelling, or redness of the scrotum or pressure at the base of the penis.

How is it diagnosed?

A spermatocele is usually diagnosed by examining the scrotum. As part of the exam, your doctor may 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. 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.

How is a spermatocele treated?

A spermatocele is not usually dangerous and is treated only if it grows larger or causes pain or other problems. Treatment is not usually needed if a spermatocele does not change in size or gets smaller as the body reabsorbs the fluid.

If the spermatocele gets larger or causes discomfort, a procedure to remove the spermatocele (spermatocelectomy) may be needed.

Credits

Current as of: February 28, 2023

Author: Healthwise Staff
Clinical Review Board
All Healthwise education is reviewed by a team that includes physicians, nurses, advanced practitioners, registered dieticians, and other healthcare professionals.

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