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Year : 2000  |  Volume : 17  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 58-60

Cowper's syringocele -an unusual presentation

Department of Urology, Medical College, Kottayam, India

Correspondence Address:
Suresh Bhat
Department of Urology, Medical College, Kottayam, Kerala - 686 008
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Cowper's syringocele is an uncommon condition occur­ing in children. Only occassionally it has been reported in adults. Palpable syringocele is a rarity. We report an adult who presented with palpable Cowper's syringocele.

Keywords: Cowper′s Gland; Syringocele.

How to cite this article:
Bhat S, Thomas A, Nazar M, Joseph GC, Dharmaraj. Cowper's syringocele -an unusual presentation. Indian J Urol 2000;17:58-60

How to cite this URL:
Bhat S, Thomas A, Nazar M, Joseph GC, Dharmaraj. Cowper's syringocele -an unusual presentation. Indian J Urol [serial online] 2000 [cited 2023 Mar 28];17:58-60. Available from:

   Case Report Top

This 26-year-old male presented with voiding difficulty of about 3 years' duration. There was no history of uri­nary tract infection, trauma to the perineum or previous urinary tract surgery. Physical examination showed a small tense cystic swelling in the perineum. Lab investigations were normal. A retrograde urethrogram showed a radi­olucent defect in the bulbar urethra [Figure 1]. Ultrasound exa­mination of the upper urinary tract was normal. On endoscopic examination, the classical blue-tinted cystic swelling was seen in the floor of the bulbar urethra. This was deroofed with a Collin's knife. The patient has re­mained asymptomatic since then.

   Discussion Top

The bulbourethral glands were first described orally by Mercy in 1684 but Cowper's published account of their discovery in 1699, earned him the eponym. There are 2 types of glands: diaphragmatic and accessory bulbar. The former lie dorsal to and on either side of the membranous urethra between the layers of the triangular ligament. These are tubuloalveolar glands consisting of multiple lobules, each of which is drained by a ductule. These ductules unite to form a single duct which is about 2-3 cm long and drain into the proximal bulbar urethra. These 2 main ducts empty through the minute orifices that open on either side of the midline of the ventral surface of the deep bulb. The sec-fand group of glands lie deep inside the spongy tissue and may account for some of the varied anatomical presenta­tions of the lesion of the Cowper's glands like a swelling in the perineum.

Cowper's syringocele is cystic dilatation of the distal portion of the Cowper's gland duct. Syringocele is prima­rily congenital, most common among children and usu­ally manifests as a retention cyst of the intraurethral portion of the main duct. The age of all patients with sympto­matic syringocele reported by Dewan, [1] Brock & Kaplan [2] ranged from newborn to 17 years. Late appearance of syringocele has been only rarely reported. [3] The overall incidence of syringocele has been reported to be as low as 1.5% among cystograms done in 195 boys. Cowper's syringocele has been classified into 4 types by Maizels et al, viz., simple syringocele, perforated syringocele, im­perforate syringocele, and ruptured syringocele. The one described here belongs to the imperforate type. An imper­forate syringocele represents the congenitally dilated distal portion of the duct. The orifice of the duct is imperforate and does not drain into the bulbar urethra. This type ap­pears urethrographically as a radiolucent mass that com­presses the urethra. These lesions were described radiologically first by Edling in 1953. Endoscopically the cyst appears as blue-tinted translucent cystic swelling at the 6 o'clock position in the bulbar urethra without any definite ostium. Patients with Cowper's syringocele usu­ally present with voiding symptoms, postvoiding dribbling, urinary infection, and hematuria. Occasionally it may be felt in the perineum. Voiding cystourethrogram and retro­grade urethrogram are useful aids to the diagnosis. De­compression with a Collin's knife is curative. This case is reported because of it's late onset of manifestation and the unusual presentation as a mass in the perineum which is rare in Cowper's syringocele.

   References Top

1.Dewan PA. A study of the relationship between Syringoceles and Cobb's collar. Eur Urol 1996; 30: 119-124.  Back to cited text no. 1  [PUBMED]  
2.Brock WA, Kaplan GW. Lesions of Cowper's glands in children. J Urol 1979; 122: 121-123.  Back to cited text no. 2  [PUBMED]  
3.Richter S, Shalave M, Nisan Korn I. Late appearance of Cowper's syringocele. J Urol 1998; 160: 128-129.  Back to cited text no. 3    


  [Figure 1]


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