Varicocele embolization is a minimally invasive procedure performed as an alternative for varicocele surgery. 

In this process, liquid substances and tiny coils are placed in a blood vessel for diverting the flow of blood from a varicocele. 

This process is performed with the help of a catheter under imaging assistance by the interventional radiologist or IR on an outpatient basis.

About the Surgery

Percutaneous Varicocele embolization is a minimally invasive procedure performed as an alternative for varicocele surgery. 

In this process, liquid substances and tiny coils are placed in a blood vessel for diverting the flow of blood from a varicocele.

Varicocele embolization is generally a safe treatment if performed by well-trained and experienced Interventional Radiologists.

Do you want to know the treatment option? Please contact our doctor at Medfin.

There are three main approaches to varicocele. These include,

  • Open Surgery

  • Laparoscopic Surgery

  • Microsurgery

Even though the success rate of surgery and varicocele embolization are almost the same, the recovery time in case of embolization is quicker. Hence varicocele embolization is generally more preferred if a person has a unilateral varicocele.

Surgery, specifically microsurgery is effective and a better option if the varicocele has affected both the testicles.

  • Medical history and physical examination will be conducted before the surgery.

  • Required medical tests will be performed.

  • You will be given the instructions that must be followed before your surgery. 

  • Communicate any ongoing medications and allergic reactions to anesthesia if any.

  • You will be given antibiotics before the procedure to prevent infection.

  • Avoid smoking in case you are a smoker before your surgery.

This procedure is done on an outpatient basis. The complete process generally takes an hour to two.

A consent form will be signed before undergoing the procedure.

You will be taken to the procedure room of the interventional radiology department. With sterile drapes on your back, you will be asked to lie down on a special x-ray table.

The Groin area will then be cleaned with an antiseptic solution.

A local anesthetic injection will be given in the upper thigh to numb the site. A catheter will be inserted for assisting the process. This is done to identify the affected area. 

Once it is placed in a correct position then a liquid or small coil called sclerosing agent will be released for diverting the blood flow in the veins near the affected vein. 

This will allow the exit of blood from the scrotum normally. Pressure will be relieved from the varicocele regulating the blood flow. 

In the final stage, IR will eliminate the catheter and apply a bandage to the thigh entry.

Post your procedure you will be taken to the recovery room. There your blood pressure, heartbeats, and oxygen levels will be monitored. Besides, observation of any potential complications is also done.

After that, your pain will be treated. In case, you feel nausea or vomiting due to anesthesia you will be provided with the medications.

The majority of the patients get discharged on the same day. You can start the normal daily routine tasks within 24 hours post-surgery. 

  • Avoid strenuous activities such as jogging for a few weeks after your surgery.

  • Take the prescribed medicines timely

  • Avoid lifting heavyweights

  • Avoid sexual intercourse for a few weeks post your surgery

  • Avoid driving

  • Drink plenty of fluids and water

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FAQs and Related Articles

Varicocele is a type of medical condition in which a group of scrotum veins becomes unusually enlarged. It is generally similar to the varicose in leg condition. 

A scrotum is the reproductive structure of a male that includes a sac that holds blood vessels, testes, a portion of the spermatic cord. Besides, sperm ejaculation occurs through the urethra.

Varicocele can be unilateral or bilateral. That is either present on one of the sides or both sides. This is a common condition.  It is found that out of every 100 men 15 of them will have varicocele.

The interventional radiology field is a subspecialty of radiology that involves using minimally-invasive image assistance approaches to diagnose and treat the conditions of almost all the body organs.

The imaging types of equipment used in this procedure are fluoroscopic guidance, X-ray, CT, MRI, and ultrasound to treat the affected organ.

Varicocele embolization is not required in every case. However, if the condition results in symptoms like severe pain, infertility, or testicular atrophy, or a person having varicocele needs guided reproductive technique then Varicocele embolization is recommended.

Varicocele embolization has several benefits when compared to conventional surgery. These include,

  • Less pain

  • Minimally invasive

  • No cuts, scars, and stitches

  • Quicker recovery time

  • Can be performed under local anesthesia

  • Reduced risk of developing a hydrocele and infection

Varicocele embolization is generally a safe treatment if performed by a well-trained and experienced Interventional Radiologist. However, some common risks include,

  • Damage or injury to the surrounding tissues

  • Allergic reactions to anesthesia

  • Headache

  • Nausea

  • Drowsiness

  • Infection

There are certain specific risks during the procedure including,

  • The coil used in the procedure might migrate to block the enlarged vein

  • Infection at the catheter insertion site

  • Allergic reaction to the dye involved in the process

  • Severe bleeding or minor groin bruising while the catheter insertion

  • Scrotum inflammation

  • Lower back pain

  • Mistakenly the coil can spill into another vein

No, this varicocele repair does not affect sexual function.

Studies have shown that varicocele repair can improve semen count to a certain extent. However, there is no guarantee that there will be significant improvement after the procedure as semen count depends on multiple other factors. Studies show that pregnancy rates among infertile couples improve between 30% - 50% after a varicocele repair procedure.

A varicocele usually affects people of the 18-30 age group, though it can affect people beyond the age of thirty-five also.

You can consult an urologist or an interventional radiologist. The latest percutaneous embolization for varicocele is performed only by an interventional radiologist.

Varicocele may affect the quality of the sperm and decrease its production leading to infertility, but this may not always be the case. Infertility may also have causes that are compounded with varicocele. 

When left untreated, varicoceles can lead to complications such as shrinking of the testicles, also called atrophy, and also infertility. Varicoceles may keep the local temperature in or around the testicle too high, affecting sperm formation, movement and function.

Yes, we do offer free transportation to and from the hospital where the surgery is conducted. We pick you up from your home for the surgery to be done and drop you back after the surgery is completed.

As per some studies, treatment can improve semen count up to some extent. However, there’s no guarantee, as semen counts depends upon several other factors.

No, varicocele is not life-threatening. But there are chances it may hinder several of your daily activities such as exercising, walking and sexual intercourse.

No, once occurred, varicocele cannot go on its own. It is important to seek medical advice.

Do not wear tight-fitting clothes or supporters. Do not indulge in sexual activity if there’s a large varicocele and prevent the affected area from any kind of trauma.

Yes, it can affect fertility in males when the varicocele is large and is putting pressure on the spermatic cord.

Varicocele generally affects males with age between 18 and 30. However, it can also affect individuals over 35 years of age.

A urologist or a general surgeon treats varicocele.

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