Spermatoceles in adults: when does size matter?

Thomas J Walsh, Katharine T Seeger, Paul J Turek
Archives of Andrology 2007, 53 (6): 345-8
Spermatoceles are benign cystic dilations of the epididymis. Despite their relatively common occurrence, it is not clear why or when men want this lesion treated. We present a single institution series of men undergoing spermatocelectomy. We describe the clinical characteristics of men with these lesions and hypothesize that men with spermatoceles seek intervention when the lesion approximates the size of a testicle. The characteristics of 24 men who sought excision of symptomatic spermatoceles were reviewed. Specific characteristics included subject age, duration of diagnosis, symptom type, and symptom duration. Spermatoceles were characterized by size, sidedness, and associated findings. Simple descriptive statistics were used for analysis. The mean age of men seeking spermatocelectomy was 46 years. Most men (58%) sought surgery due to a combination of pain and sensation of mass. The mean duration of symptoms was 48 months. At the time of excision, the average size of spermatoceles was 4.2 cm in greatest diameter, and most (71%) were right sided. Men who experienced pain as an isolated symptom were younger by approximately 10 years compared to those who experienced mass. Men in this series appear to tolerate spermatoceles for a relatively long period of time. Once they seek excision, spermatoceles have grown to roughly the size of a normal testicle and men are bothered both by pain and mass symptoms.

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