Varicocele Surgery : Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis & Treatment

Varicoceles (swollen veins in the scrotum) hinder one in every five men and are mostly symptom free. You may not need treatment for varicoceles, but it can be a reason for male infertility. So, varicocele surgery can be an alternative to improve fertility in men.

Know everything about varicoceles, varicocele surgery and a lot more in this post.

What are Varicoceles?

Varicoceles refer to when the veins in your scrotum become enlarged or swollen. The scrotum is a pouch-like sac of skin where testicles are held. Varicocele is quite a common concern and is similar to varicose veins, a condition one gets in the leg when the veins get twisted or swollen.
Varicoceles transfer the sperm to the testicles and can be seen through the skin. Since these veins are larger than they might otherwise be, blood can rack up in your scrotum or even flow reverse into your testicles.

Symptoms of Varicoceles:

Generally, varicoceles do not show any symptoms. But, you may notice:

  • Swollen scrotum or testicles
  • Pain in scrotum
  • Mild pain in testicles or scrotal ache that gets better when you rest
  • Small lump over affected testicles
  • Symptoms that worsen after activities like bike riding or standing for long hours
  • Male infertility
  • Decreased or damaged testosterone production

What Causes Varicoceles?

Varicoceles may occur as a result of a faulty switch (or valve) inside specific veins in the spermatic cord, a belt of tissues that retains the testicles in place. Much is still unknown about the causes of varicoceles.

Blood flows from the testicles to the rest of the body via these veins. The valve serves as an on/off switch. Excess blood may accumulate inside testicular veins when a valve fails to function properly. This impairment causes veins to swell over time.

Who Can Get Varicoceles?

Anyone who has testicles can get varicoceles, irrespective of age. As per the healthcare experts, several cases of varicoceles are present at birth. During their teen years, many people become aware of a varicocele. This timing is thought to be related to puberty when the blood circulation to the genitals accelerates. Moreover, the varicocele can sometimes prevent the testicle from developing properly.

How Common is Varicoceles?

Out of every 100 men, nearly 10-5 men have varicoceles. However, you cannot predict how many men with varicoceles will face fertility issues. Nearly, 40% of men with fertility problems have reduced sperm movement and varicocele. Despite the fact that varicoceles can be found usually in men having infertility, around 80% of men with varicoceles do not face fertility problems. There is no linkage to other defects, race, place of birth, or ethnic group.

Who Will Need a Varicocele Surgery?

  • As long as your varicocele does not cause discomfort or pain, your doctor will recommend you to skip surgery to avoid the risks involved in the surgery.
  • Generally, varicocele occurs on the left side of the scrotum. If varicoceles appear on the right side, there is a higher chance that they are caused due to growth or tumours. If you get a varicocele on the right side, your doctor may perform varicocele surgery to remove the growth.
  • A frequent cause of a varicocele is infertility. If you want to have a baby but have trouble getting pregnant, your doctor might suggest this procedure. You may also want to have this procedure done if you are experiencing any of the side effects of low testosterone production, such as gaining weight or declining sex drive.

What is Varicocele Surgery?

Also known as varicocelectomy, varicocele surgery is performed to pull the swollen veins inside the scrotum. Varicocele surgery is a surgical procedure that is conducted for a proper revival of blood flow to the reproductive organs. There are three surgical options for varicocele surgery performed on an outpatient basis.

Varicocelectomy: This surgery is performed under local or general anaesthesia. The surgeon will enter the area through the groin or, less frequently, the abdomen or upper thigh. They will close the affected veins using ultrasound and surgical microscopes to divert the blood through other healthy vessels. Post-operative pain is usually minimal, and the patient can quickly resume usual tasks.

Laparoscopic Surgery:  Another alternative for varicocelectomy is laparoscopic surgery. This surgical procedure is done using a laparoscope, a small, thin tube that enables the doctor to make tiny incisions. The tubes will be inserted through your abdomen, where there are fewer veins to tie off. This type of varicocelectomy surgery takes only 30 to 40 minutes.

Percutaneous Embolization: A tube or catheter is inserted into your body through the groin or neck. The instruments are departed through the tube, and the doctor utilises coils or chemicals to obstruct the vein by scarring it. This is a minimally-invasive, outpatient procedure that needs a short time to recover.

Recovery from Varicocele Surgery:

Once your surgery is done, you will be shifted to the recovery room. You’ll need to rest for some hours before your doctor releases you to go home.

While recovering at home, you’ll have to:

  • Take medicines as asked by your doctor
  • Take pain medication to sustain pain after surgery
  • Reduce the swelling on the scrotum by applying an ice pack
  • Clean incision as asked by the doctor

You will have to avoid doing certain tasks like:

  • Vigorous exercising or heavy lifting
  • Intercourse for one or two weeks
  • Swimming or bathing or drenching your scrotum with water
  • Driving

Varicocele Surgery – Side Effects

Visit your doctor for medical attention straight away if you notice:

  • Abnormal swelling
  • Redness or leakage from the incision
  • Nausea or Vomiting
  • Difficulty urinating or emptying the bladder
  • Leg pain
  • High fever
  • Fluid accumulation around testicles

Before you decide to undergo varicocele surgery, Dr Banker urges you to get a basic evaluation and workup. At Banker IVF, we make sure that you receive the best guidance and treatments for your concerns.

Read: Reasons for Low Sperm Count

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