A varicocele is a condition where the vein(s) in the scrotum are enlarged. The condition is similar to varicose veins in the legs and most often occurs in the left testicle.
- Dull to sharp pain or discomfort
- Pain or discomfort may worsen throughout the day with physical exertion and prolonged standing
- Laying on your back may provide relief
- May affect sperm production or quality
The doctor will do a physical exam to determine if there is a mass present.
If the varicocele is smaller, the doctor may have you stand and take a deep breath while you bear down. This will help the doctor detect abnormal vein enlargement.
The doctor will also order a scrotal ultrasound, which is a test using high-frequency sound waves to create precise images.
Varicocele treatment is not always necessary. Often times, fertility is not affected.
However, if your varicocele is causing pain, testicular atrophy or infertility, you may want to undergo a varicocele repair.
The purpose of the surgery is to close off the affected vein and redirect the blood flow into the normal veins.
This is an outpatient surgical procedure done with a general anesthetic. The surgeon accesses the vein through your groin or abdomen.
The surgeon makes a small incision in the abdomen to repair the varicocele.
After the Surgery
The patient can return to work in about two days. Lifting objects or strenuous activity should be avoided for two weeks.
A semen analysis will be performed post-operatively to check the patient’s sperm quality and/or count.
Pain from surgery is usually mild. The patient can take an over-the-counter pain reliever, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol).
If appropriate, prescription-pain medication can be prescribed for a short period of time.