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Varicoceles

Varicoceles

What is Varicocele?

Varicoceles or varicose veins are a widening of the veins along the cord that holds up a man’s testicles.  It is a common condition that affects 15% of the male population and 40% to 50% of the infertile male population.

 

Symptoms

Varicocele usually does not have any symptoms and there is usually no need for treatment. A physician frequently discovers varicocele during a routine examination or a fertility check. When symptoms are present, they can include the following:

  • Pain ranging from dull to sharp and a feeling of heaviness and discomfort
  • Swelling
  • Infertility

 

Treatment

Varicocelectomy surgery is the primary treatment for Varicocele.  Anesthesia is used to numb the area.  The urologist will make a cut in the lower abdomen and tie off the abnormal veins allowing blood the area into the normal veins. The surgery is usually quick and efficient and the patient can leave the hospital the same day as surgery.  After the procedure, the patient is advised to leave an ice pack on the area for 24 hours.

Varicocele Embolization is an alternative surgery and does not require an overnight stay in the hospital.  This is an image-guided procedure where the cut is much smaller than a surgical cut allowing the patient to heal faster. A catheter is placed into a vein in the groin or neck area and using the patients x-rays as a guide, the doctor moves the catheter into the varicocele.  A tiny coil passes through the catheter into the varicocele allowing the coil to block blood flow to the bad vein and sends it to the normal veins.  After the procedure, the patient will need to place ice on the area and wear scrotal support for a short period.

Urologist Silicon Valley

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