Varicoceles are varicose veins of the testicles and scrotum that can, but don’t always, cause pain, infertility and testicular atrophy (shrinkage of the testicles). Approximately 10 percent of all men have varicoceles. They are most prevalent in men ages 15-35. Among infertile couples nearly 30 percent of men have varicoceles.
What Causes a Varicocele?
(Good Blood Flow in Vein Valve)
(Bad Blood Flow in Vein Valve)
Varicoceles are caused when the one-way valves in the scrotal veins, which allow blood to flow from the testicles and scrotum back to the heart, become dysfunctional or fail. This causes the blood to pool and the veins around the testicle enlarge to form a varicocele.
If the varicoceles cause testicular pain or infertility, there are options available, including minimally invasive treatments. When considering varicocele treatment, make sure to weigh the risks and benefits of each treatment option.
Varicocele embolization is a highly effective, minimally invasive alternative to surgery, performed by an interventional radiologist in an outpatient setting. Varicocele embolization requires only a small nick in the skin that does not need to be stitched and offers a quicker recovery.
What Is Varicocele Embolization?
Varicocele embolization, performed by a vascular specialist, is a minimally invasive procedure that closes off blood flow to the affected vein(s), causing the varicocele to shrink and die off.
You will be given a mild sedative before the procedure begins to help you relax, as well as a local anesthetic at the procedure site. The vascular specialist will then insert a catheter through a small nick in your groin and using fluoroscopy, a type of x-ray, image-guided technology. The catheter will be placed through your femoral vein and advanced into the affected testicular vein.
Contrast (a type of dye) is injected to help your physician visualize your veins so they know exactly where to embolize (block) the varicocele. Your physician does this by placing small coils and/or sclerosants (medicine that is injected directly into your veins which irritates the vein and causes them to become occluded). Once this occurs, the vein is blocked and blood flow is now redirected away from the varicocele, so the varicocele will no longer be able to live.
Who Is a Candidate for Varicocele Embolization?
If you prefer a minimally invasive treatment option, speak with your doctor about varicocele embolization, you may be a candidate for varicocele embolization if you are an adult male and have been diagnosed with a varicocele that is causing you testicular pain, discomfort or infertility. Make sure to discuss all varicocele treatment options with your general practitioner or family physician.
Benefits of Varicocele Embolization
Varicocele embolization is a minimally invasive outpatient procedure that:
- Requires NO general anesthesia (only local anesthesia)
- Results in NO scarring
- Requires NO overnight stay (same day procedure)
With varicocele embolization, you can expect:
- Success rates of 90%, similar to surgical techniques
- Quicker recovery time; days vs. weeks as compared to open surgery
- Reduced risk of infection
- Ease in making scheduled appointments at an outpatient center
- A same day procedure, allowing you to recover at home
How We Can Help You with Varicocele Embolization
If you are an adult male who has been diagnosed with a varicocele, varicocele surgery is not your only option. Our physicians at Azura Vascular Care treat men with varicoceles using varicocele embolization, a minimally invasive procedure performed at many of our locations. The vascular specialist and clinical staff at our outpatient vascular centers combine medical expertise and compassion to guide you through your varicocele treatment journey every step of the way, providing symptomatic relief and getting you back to your daily routine quickly.
At Azura Vascular Care, we work every day to deliver far more than our patients expect. We bring our full range of medical capabilities and service excellence to every patient, every visit at each of our centers nationwide.
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