The term scrotal mass means that a distinct mass can be felt within the scrotum, as opposed to a general swelling of the scrotum.
What is going on in the body?
A variety of masses can occur in the scrotum, most of them benign or noncancerous. Testicular cancer is always a consideration, so any new scrotal mass should be evaluated. The common kinds of masses are the:
sebaceous, or epidermal, cyst
A sebaceous cyst is a collection of sloughed material from the skin surface. These cysts are usually clearly within the wall of the scrotum rather than inside the scrotum. But sometimes they are deep and may appear to be another kind of mass. The cysts, sometimes called epidermal cysts, are benign. The only problem is that they may be uncomfortable or become infected.
A hydrocele is a collection of fluid around the testicle. A hydrocele is benign, and is important only in terms of the person's comfort.
A hematocele is a collection of blood around the testicle. Hematoceles are often more painful than a hydrocele. It's important to find the underlying cause of a hematocele.
A spermatocele is an outpouching of tissue from the epididymis. This is the name for the soft-coiled tubes along the back of the testicle that contain sperm. Spermatoceles are also called epididymal cysts. They are usually much smaller than hydroceles, and are benign. They do not need to be treated unless the person has symptoms.
A varicocele is an enlargement, or dilation, of the veins that drain the scrotum.
Testicular tumors are another kind of scrotal mass. Testicular cancer is mainly a disease of young men, but it can occur in any age, even in children. Any solid mass within the testicle is considered malignant until proven otherwise. There are a few testicular tumors that are benign.
What are the causes and risks of the condition?
Hydroceles, spermatoceles, and hematoceles can be triggered by surgery on the groin or scrotum.