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Varicocele disease affects the quality of sperm that leads to childlessness
Men who experience pain in their testes—especially while exercising, standing or sitting for a long period of time—may have varicoceles. A varicocele is simply swollen testicle veins. Just like swollen veins in the legs, the veins draining from the scrotum can also become swollen. The disorder is caused by defective valves or compression of the veins. It can cause enlargement of the testicular veins near the testis, leading to the formation of a varicocele. In majority cases varicose happens in the left testicle, however it can as well affect the right testicle.
Usually, painful varicoceles are large in size. If not treated, varicoceles may lead to the inability to have children.
Varicoceles have been associated with low sperm production and decreased sperm quality, which can often lead to infertility. This condition can also cause the testicles to shrink or hinder its normal development. Some doctors believe these blocked and swollen veins around the testes cause infertility by raising the temperature in the scrotum and decreasing the production of sperm.
Approximately 10 percent of all men have varicocele, but most of those affected do not experience symptoms. For those who do, the most common are:
Varying degrees of pain, especially during certain movements
- Swelling in the scrotum
- shrinking of the testicle (Testicular atrophy)
- Decreased fertility.
- Abnormal or insufficient sperm production
- Slower or limited growth in affected testicle
- Heaviness in the testicle, which gets worse during the day, particularly in hot weather or after physical exertion
The varicocele can be identified on a routine physical exam when the testicles are felt while the male is in a standing position. Varicoceles that are smaller often are detected only on further testing, which can involve Doppler ultrasonography (ultrasound designed to detect the sound of backflow of the blood through the valve) and thermography (infrared sensing technology to detect pockets of heat created by the pooled blood).
Generally, treatment isn't required for varicoceles unless there is significant testicle shrinkage, potential fertility issues or debilitating testicle pain. Surgical treatment may be suggested if the testicles are of noticeably different sizes.
There are three main options to treat varicoceles: open surgery, laparoscopy and embolization.
Varicocele embolization (also called catheter-directed embolization) is an image-guided, nonsurgical treatment performed by an interventional radiologist. Embolization patients should be able to return home on the same day of the procedure and return to normal activities within 24 hours. Advantages of embolization include:
Shorter recovery time as compared to surgery;
No hospital admittance;
No surgical incision, just a tiny insertion site that does not require stitches;
No reported infections, which can sometimes occur after surgery;
Success rate similar to that of surgery when analyzing post-procedure pain relief, sperm quality, and pregnancy rates;
Patient remains conscious during procedure.
Laparoscopic Surgery: This surgery is among the minimally invasive option, which is carried out with smaller incisions that gives the patient better results with lesser pain.
Open surgery continues to be a common treatment for varicocele, but typically is only recommended if the results of embolization are not satisfactory. Varicocele surgery is usually performed by a urologist as an outpatient procedure.
EQUI provides comprehensive diagnosis and treatment options for male infertility conditions. Dr. Manohar offers varicocele embolization, which is as effective as surgery with less risk, less pain and less recovery time. He is very passionate about patient care and delivery systems which will ensure a high level of satisfaction and success rate. Most patients are able to return to their normal activities immediately following their procedures.
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