Varicocele Embolization for Treatment of Varicoceles

Varicoceles are enlarged varicose veins that occur in the scrotum when valves inside the veins along the spermatic cord prevent blood from flowing properly. They are more common in men between 15-25 years of age and occur mostly in the left testicle. This often leads to infertility.

Normally, blood flows to the testicles through an artery and flows out through the veins. The upward flow of blood through the veins is ensured by a series of one-way valves in the vein that prevent reverse flow of blood back to the testicles. When these one-way valves fail to function properly, the reverse flow of blood stretches and enlarges the veins around the testicles. This leads to the formation of a varicocele.

Some of the common symptoms of a varicocele may include:
  • Pain within scrotum
  • Feeling of heaviness in the testicle
  • Atrophy (shrinking) of the testicle
  • Infertility
Varicocele Embolization is an image guided, minimally invasive procedure used to divert blood flow away from a Varicocele. This process is performed by a specially trained interventional radiologist. A small flexible catheter is inserted through the skin into the femoral vein and then using x-rays as a guide, the tube is moved to the treatment site. The tiny coil passed through the tube into the varicocele, obstructs the veins so that increased pressure from the abdomen are no longer transmitted to the testicles.

Recently, scientific researches have shown that in over 90 per cent of the cases in male infertility, the main cause is bilateral varicocele. Varicocele embolization safely relieves that pain and swelling and improves sperm quality and quantity of sperm production.

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