What is Varicocelectomy?
Effects of Varicocelectomy
Candidates for Varicocelectomy
There are minimal guidelines to be followed for this procedure such as eating and drinking are not allowed prior to the procedure. Other guidelines may depend on the physician or the facility where the varicocelectomy will take place. The patient should be provided by the physician with any essential preoperative instructions.
The Varicocelectomy Procedure
The varicocelectomy procedure is done for the improvement of male fertility. This procedure is usually done surgically and may be performed on an outpatient basis with the use of local or general anesthesia. Varicocelectomy starts by creating a small incision in the abdomen near the area where the testicles originally descended through the abdominal wall. The veins that are causing the varicocele are made out and are cut in order to eradicate blood flow to the varicocele.
The patient is instructed by the physician to do the following:
- Abstain from sexual activity for one week
- Bathing or showering should be avoided for 24 to 48 hours
- Outer dressing should be removed 48 hours after the procedure
- Pain medications should be taken as prescribed by the doctor
- Weightlifting or jogging or strenuous activities should be avoided for approximately two weeks
The risks that may be expected from this procedure are the occurrence of some complications which include formation of hydrocele and testicular artery damage. The testicle may shrink or stop the production of sperm when the testicular artery is injured during the surgery.
The following are rare complications from a radiographic occlusion:
- Allergic reactions to the radiographic dye
- Balloon moving into the renal vein which results in kidney loss
- Development of blood clots in larger veins
What are varicoceles?
Varicoceles are enlarged veins that are somewhat the same as varicose veins and may result to infertility. Varicoceles are one of the most common scrotal disorders.
Why is varicocelectomy needed?
The mechanism by which varicoceles influence fertility is poorly understood; however, it is believed that they raise the temperature of the testicles which results in damaging or killing the sperm. This procedure is usually done in order to improve the fertility of men who both have a varicocele and an impaired sperm. On the other hand, this procedure is very controversial as some infertility experts think that this procedure is not an effective treatment for infertility.
What are the various methods of varicocelectomy?
Varicocelectomy involves the tying off of the affected veins. The following are the various methods used in this procedure:
- Inguinal varicocelectomy
- Laparoscopic varicocelectomy
- Microsurgical subinguinal varicocelectomy
- Radiographic occlusion
- Retroperitoneal varicocelectomy
The incidence of recurrence of a varicocele after the procedure greatly varies with an average rate of 9%. When recurrence of varicocele happens, the procedure is usually performed again. We must wait for at least four months in order to see any significant improvement in the quality of the sperm.
How well does this procedure work?
Studies show that undergoing varicocelectomy results in favorable pregnancy rates; however, studies also show that these pregnancy rates do not differ with couples who have not undergone varicocele repair.