Non-surgical Treatment for Varicocele


If you have been diagnosed with a varicocele, you have more treatment options than you may have been told about. A revolutionary newer procedure called varicocele embolization is a non-surgical alternative to painful varicocele surgery. Many men choose this non-surgical alternative because it does not involve general anesthesia, incisions in the scrotum, or sutures.
Varicocele is a common condition affecting approximately 10 percent of men that tends to occur in young men, usually during the second or third decade of life. Varicocele causes Pain: – One of the signs of varicoceles is an aching pain when the individual has been standing or sitting for an extended time. Heavy lifting may make varicocele symptoms worse. Fertility Problems: – There is an association between varicocele and infertility or sub fertility, but it is difficult to be certain if a varicocele is the cause of fertility problems in any one case. Studies have shown that from 50 percent to 70 percent of men with fertility problems will have a significant improvement in the quality and/or quantity of sperm production after they have undergone varicocele repair. Testicular Atrophy: – shrinking of the testicles is another sign of varicoceles. The condition is often diagnosed in adolescent boys during a sports physical examination. When the affected testicle is smaller than the other, repair of the variocele is often recommended. The repaired testicle will return to normal size in many cases.
Varicocele can be diagnosed during a physical examination. A large varicocele may make the scrotum look lumpy so it resembles “a bag of worms”. It is always diagnosed by a noninvasive imaging exam called color flow or doppler ultrasound.

In INDIA and other parts of the world, varicocele treatment has traditionally involved open surgery, usually performed by a urologic surgeon, or general surgeon. In recent years, however, a safe and effective nonsurgical alternative called varicocele embolization is becoming the treatment of choice for many patients and their physicians.
Non-surgical catheter directed embolization is an outpatient treatment. Specifically trained interventional radiologist makes a tiny nick in the skin at the groin or neck using local anesthesia and a thin catheter is passed and directed to the testicular vein. With contrast dye injection, interventional radiologist map out exactly where the problem is and by using coils, by embolization, blood flow is re-directed to other healthy pathways. Whole non-surgical treatment procedure is pain less and takes about 30 minute to an hour. The tube is removed and no stitches are needed. Patients are observed for a few hours and go home the same day. Recovery from varicocele embolization typically takes less than 24 hours and patients often return to work the next day.

Varicocele Embolization is effective in improving male infertility and costs about the same as surgical ligation. The study shows, sperm concentration improved in 83 percent of patients undergoing embolization compared to 63 percent of those surgically ligated.
The majority of men in INDIA undergo surgery as varicocele treatment. This is because they are usually sent to surgeons for evaluation, and many do not know about varicocele embolization. The advantages of embolization are that it does not require any surgical incision in the scrotal area, a patient with varicoceles on both sides can have both fixed at the same time through one vein puncture site (surgery requires two separate open incisions), general anesthesia is not used for embolization (most surgery is done under general), It requires less recovery time. Post embolization patients are virtually never admitted to the hospital. Even patients with physically demanding jobs may return to work within the next day or two, unlike post surgical patients.
For more in-depth information contact: Dr. Pradeep Muley M.D.
Senior Consultant Interventional Radiologist, New Delhi, INDIA
Mobile 91-98104 92778 or E-mail –


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