A man’s testicles are held by a cord which has some veins running through it. Sometimes, these veins get distended. The result is varicose veins of the testicles which are more commonly known as varicocele. This condition is not always serious enough for surgery, but in extreme cases, it is required. Thus, it is advisable to have some knowledge about treatment of varicocele.
Once a varicocele has been positively identified by the physician, it is important to make some basic preparation before the procedure:
Be Mentally Prepared: This is the first and most important precondition. The patient should have consultations with the doctor, to understand what exactly is going to happen, and the benefit of having the surgery in the first place.
Blood Tests: The patient may have to have a blood test to make sure that there are no blood related problems.
Assistance Required: After the procedure, the patient may have some discomfort in moving around freely and sitting and getting up. Therefore, it is recommended that an attendant be arranged who can also accompany and drive the patient home after the procedure.
The primary decision would be if treatment is really required. Some men have varicoceles throughout their lifetime without any serious problem. There are two minimum requirements which may dictate the necessity of treatment of a varicocele:
Fertility Problems: If infertility is observed for an extended period, say, for about 2 years, then a varicocelectomy may be recommended.
Pain or Discomfort: Sometimes, pain in the testicular region may be experienced and a dragging feeling also may occur. If this sort of discomfort is felt for a long time, then treatment would be recommended by the physician.
The surgical rectification of a varicocele is known as a varicocelectomy. The patient is treated as an outpatient. There are three types of access – through the groin (inguinal), through the abdomen (retroperitoneal) and below the groin (infrainguinal/subinguinal).
The basic procedure is that a small incision is made through which the affected testicle is pulled out. The veins which are causing the varicocele are then located and cut, thereby stopping the flow of blood to the varicocele.
There is an alternative nonsurgical procedure known as embolization, which involves insertion of a small catheter into the vein it the groin and then moved to the location of the veins causing the varicocele. Once access is achieved to the relevant veins, then the blood flow to the varicocele is blocked with a coil, balloon or medication.