How are varicoceles treated?
The goals of treating the varicocele is to eliminate the pressure in the veins of the testicle by closing off the bad veins and diverting the blood flow into healthier veins. Up till recently, the treatment of varicoceles has primarily consisted of surgical removal of the dilated veins. Although successful, the surgical procedure has risks associated with it, some of which may be quite disabling.
- Open varicocelectomy: This approach involves an incision in the inguinal, or groin, region. The surgeon locates the veins causing the varicocele and ties them off. The surgery is effective but carries a risk of developing some complications and is currently reserved for patients who fail or recur after embolization.
- Laparoscopic varicocelectomy: This approach involves small incisions made in the abdomen. Using a specialized camera (scope), the veins that are causing the varicocele are identified and then tied off.
- Microsurgical varicocelectomy: This approach uses the same initial incision as the open approach; however, it uses a microscope to locate the veins and tie them off. This procedure is more time intensive than the other procedures.
- Varicocele Embolization: At South Charlotte General and Vascular Surgery, our specialists have had excellent results with treating this condition with an in-office procedure, where they are able to place metal coils inside the enlarged veins to shrink them. This is a treatment that does not require surgery. Varicocele embolization is a minimally invasive technique performed by our vascular specialist. In our state of the art in-office angiographic suite. Numbing medication is injected into the skin in the groin and then a catheter, or a thin tube, is inserted into the vein in the leg. Using x-ray imaging, the catheter is advanced into the vein(s) that are causing the varicocele. Once the catheter is successfully placed the affected veins are closed off by the placement of a small coil or coils, and/or the use of a sclerosing agent.
Varicocele embolization is successful about 80-90% of the time. Within 1-2 days, you should feel close to normal, and you will be able to exercise within 7-10 days. You can resume sexual intercourse after 1-2 weeks. The veins should gradually decrease in size and eventually resolve.
Before deciding on a treatment, you should consider all of your options. If you are interested in discussing varicocele embolization, please call us and schedule a consultation with one of our varicocele experts. At South Charlotte General and Vascular Surgery, our varicocele specialists are committed to your vascular health. To book an appointment with us, click here.