Spermatocele (Epididymal Cyst)

Search Knowledgebase

Topic Contents

Spermatocele (Epididymal Cyst)

Topic Overview

What is a spermatocele?

A spermatocele (epididymal cyst) is a sperm-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.

What causes spermatoceles?

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. You may notice what looks or feels like an extra lump or mass above the testicle on one side of your scrotum. Or you may notice a general enlargement of your scrotum. Symptoms, when present, can include pain, swelling, or redness of the scrotum or a feeling of pressure at the base of the penis.

How is a spermatocele diagnosed?

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.

How is it treated?

Spermatoceles are not usually dangerous and are treated only when they cause pain or embarrassment or when they decrease the blood supply to the penis (rare). 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.

Other Places To Get Help

Organizations

Canadian Urological Association
Web Address: www.cua.org
 

The Canadian Urological Association provides information about a variety of urological conditions in the patient information section on this Web site. Some of the pediatric topics are bedwetting, circumcision, and undescended testicle. Adult topics range from prostate, kidney, and bladder health to erectile dysfunction and vasectomy.


U.S. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK)
Building 31, Room 9A06
31 Center Drive, MSC 2560
Bethesda, MD  20892-2560
Phone: (301) 496-3583
Web Address: www.niddk.nih.gov
 

The U.S. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) provides information and conducts research on a wide variety of diseases as well as issues such as weight control and nutrition.


UrologyHealth.org, American Urological Association
1000 Corporate Boulevard
Linthicum, MD  21090
Phone: 1-866-RING AUA (1-866-746-4282) toll-free
Phone: (410) 689-3700
Fax: (410) 689-3800
Email: auafoundation@auafoundation.org
Email: patienteducation@auafoundation.org
Web Address: www.urologyhealth.org
 

UrologyHealth.org is a website written by urologists for patients. Visitors can find specific topics by using the "search" option.

The website provides information about adult and pediatric urologic topics, including kidney, bladder, and prostate conditions. You can find a urologist, sign up for a free quarterly newsletter, or click on the Urology Resource Center to find materials about urologic problems.


References

Other Works Consulted

  • Schneck FX, Bellinger MF (2007). Epididymal cyst (spermatocele) section of Abnormalities of the testes and scrotum and their surgical management. In AJ Wein et al., eds., Campbell-Walsh Urology, 9th ed., vol. 4., p. 3798. Philadelphia: Saunders Elsevier.

Credits

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Primary Medical Reviewer Andrew Swan, MD, CCFP, FCFP - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Christopher G. Wood, MD, FACS - Urology, Oncology
Last Revised March 16, 2011

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.