Home | Articles | Varicocele -Male Infertility- Embolization

By Dr Sridhar Reddy Baddam
Senior Consultant Vascular & Oncointerventional Specialist
Published on 06/10/2022

What is varicocele?

A varicocele is a network of dilated blood vessels, or varicose veins, in the scrotum. Usually predominant in the left side testis. A varicocele is a common condition affecting typically young men in their second or third decade of life. This condition affects 15 to 20% of the general male population and 40% of infertile men.


How did I get varicocele?

Due to the weakened vessel valves that carry blood away from the testis, the flow is reversed, causing stagnation and pooling of blood in the scrotum. As a result, blood flows backward, causing "back pressure" resulting in stretching and enlargement of the network of small veins surrounding the testes, resulting in a varicocele.

What are the varicocele symptoms?

Many times a varicocele is silent. Some varicoceles, on the other hand, cause a dull aching pain, especially if the person has been standing for a long time. Dragging pain, heaviness, sharp shooting pain, and cord like or thready feeling in the scrotum.

Some people may experience decreased fertility or infertility as a result of a varicocele. Varicocele affects up to 40% of men who have low fertility. Varicocele raises testicular temperature and reduces sperm count and its quality. After varicocele treatment, more than half of men with low fertility will see an increase in sperm count and their quality.

How are varicocele diagnosed?

A varicocele is usually found in the left testicle, and can feel like a "bag of worms." Ultrasound scan is the simple mode of varicocele diagnosis.

How are varicocele and fertility related in men?

All adolescents with varicoceles should be treated to avoid future infertility. The varicocele embolization treatment definitely helps improve fertility associated with varicocele.

What are the treatment options of Varicocele?

Surgery: Age old method involving surgical opening, cutting, and suturing. Surgical treatment necessitates an incision and the patient may require several days or even weeks to resume normal activities. Embolization and surgery have been shown in studies to be equally effective.

Embolization: Advanced non surgical, no cut, no suture, IV cannula angiography technique with day care procedure.

Embolization does not require stitches or general anesthesia and only a small IV cannula kind of technique is performed as an outpatient procedure. The patients can resume normal activities after 24 hours.

What is the embolization of varicocele?

Varicocele embolization is usually done as an outpatient procedure with sedation and local anesthesia. A small IV saline cannula is put in either groin or hand, and through it small tubes and wires are negotiated into the blood vessels to stop back flow in the scrotal vessels. It is done under x-ray or lab guidance, leaving the normal flow intact.

What is the success rate of embolization?

Embolization has a success rate of more than 95%. These outcomes are more effective than those obtained through more invasive surgical procedures. Varicocele embolization has been used for over 25 years and has a proven safety track record.

Are there any complications with varicocele embolization?

There are no potential complications associated with this procedure. Minor transient or temporary symptoms like bruising at the entry site, mild backache, or nausea (rare) may occur. Complications associated with surgery are exceedingly rare with an embolization procedure.

Embolization has no effect on sexual function. Sexual activity can be resumed the day after the embolization. However, as sperm takes about three months to mature, improvement in fertility may take three months or longer.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Absolutely yes, Infertility associated with varicocele definitely improves. So does the counts and motility.

There will be no signs of any scar or cut. In fact, you will not even know from where the procedure is done.

Definitely yes.

There is no pain at all. In fact, you will not even require any anesthesia or painkillers.

Around 30min on average.

Yes, but predominantly on the left side.

It is done on a daycare basis, so less than a day of hospitalization is needed.

Book an appointment with a urologist to get rid of varicocele.