Purpose: To elucidate the natural history of asymptomatic hydroceles (AHs) in children with conservative management and to discuss management strategies for AHs in children.
Methods: We retrospectively reviewed 113 children with AHs who were followed without immediate surgery. Patients were divided into four groups according to age at presentation; group 1: ≤ 1 month, group 2: 1-12 months, group 3: 12-24 months, and group 4: > 24 months. Ages at spontaneous resolution or surgery were reviewed. To assess the effect of AH on the testis, testicular size before and after conservative management was compared in 11 cases.
Results: In groups 1, 2, 3, and 4, spontaneous resolution occurred in 94.3%, 75.0%, 65.0%, and 33.3%, and the average time to resolution from presentation was 5, 5, 17, and 9 months, respectively. 41 patients underwent surgery at a mean age of 4.2 years. The testicular size did not differ significantly between before and after conservative management (14.4 vs. 14.5 mm, p = 0.483).
Conclusion: About one-third of children over 2 years of age achieve spontaneous resolution. Hydroceles with conservative management may not affect the testicular size. Thus, initial conservative management before surgery is recommend for AHs in children, even over 2 years of age.
Keywords: Asymptomatic; Children; Conservative management; Hydrocele; Natural history; Spontaneous resolution.