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Radiol Med. 2003 May-Jun;105(5-6):462-70.

A therapeutic alternative in the treatment of epididymal cysts: percutaneous sclerotherapy.

[Article in English, Italian]

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Servizio di Radiologia Vascolare ed Intervenistica, Azienda Ospedaliera S. Camillo Forlanini, Rome, Italy.



Epididymal cysts are benign structures commonly seen during urological or ultrasound testicular examinations. They are treated only if symptomatic. Surgery is the standard treatment, although it carries a high risk of complications. We report our experience with sclerotherapy of epididymal cysts with sonographic assistance, and present an analysis of costs.


Between January 1999 and December 2000 we examined 48 epididymal cysts in 45 patients during ultrasound examinations. Except one, all of the patients were symptomatic. We decided to treat 25 symptomatic cysts that were more than 5 cm. in diameter. All of the patients refused surgery as they knew of the existence of the percutaneous method. The procedures were performed on a out-patient basis with ultrasound assistance and using 3% Polidocanol for sclerosis. Follow-up was at 3/6 and 12 months after treatment. If we found persistence of symptoms and/or a cyst was more than 5 cm of diameter, a second session was proposed.


Twenty-five epididymal cysts were treated, with a technical success of 100%. Mean fluid evacuation was 36 ml; mean sclerosing agent injected was 4.5 ml. There were no complications. After 3/6 months 17/25 patients were free of symptoms (68%) and the cysts had disappeared in 15 of them (60%). After the repeat procedure, performed on only 4 patients, the number of symptom-free patients was 21/25 (84%).


Epididymal cysts are often solitary cystic fluid collections that are occasionally reported during physical or ultrasound urological clinical examinations. They present as painless testicular enlargements on palpation and are echo-free at ultrasound examination. Percutaneous sclerotherapy has gained wide acceptance in the therapeutic handling of other pathologies and it appears as an ideal solution for this benign clinical condition of the superficial structures. Polidocanol, widely used on varicose vein therapies for its local anaesthetic properties, is the ideal sclerosing agent for superficial and delicate structures, such as epididymal cysts. The results of the present study have shown that symptomatic cysts may be cured in 84% of cases without complications and with low costs.


Percutaneous sclerotherapy is a valid therapeutic alternative to surgery in the management of epididymal cysts: it is safe, effective, free of complications, less costly and shows good results in the follow-up.

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