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Varicocelectomy is a medical procedure used to repair varicoceles in male patieints. Varicoceles are veins that have swelled up inside the scrotum, the skin that contains the testicles. Varicoceles are sometimes visible from the outside if the swollen veins are close enough to the surface of the scrotum tissue. However, they can also be detected on an ultrasound device if the swollen veins develop deeper within the groin area. Men do not always notice symptoms of varicoceles, but the condition can cause a sensation of heaviness or pain. Most varicoceles form during adolescent years, when blood flow to the reproductive organs dramatically increases. If blood valves in the reproductive organs are dysfunctional, then they will not be able to accommodate this increased blood flow which makes the testicular veins prone to pooling and swelling. Causes of a varicocele also include weak vascular tissue and increased blood pressure to the reproductive organs as a result of obesity.
The most common reason for treating a varicocele is to improve infertility problems. Infertility has been closely linked to varicocele veins by researchers who found poorer sperm quality and lower sperm count in varicocele patients. The most traditional method of varicocele treatment is open surgery with varicocelectomy. This procedure is performed in order to protect damaged testes from further problems. The varicocelectomy can also reverse bad sperm production caused by improper vein function in the male reproductive organs.
A varicocelectomy requires one incision that gives the surgeon access to the patient’s spermatic cord, a group of arteries, nerves and other vessels that connects to each testicle. The incision is made at the top of the penis and will be approximately 2 inches in length. Making the cut in this area, as opposed to higher up in the abdomen, helps the patient heal more quickly and minimizes any pain felt during the varicocelectomy recovery period. Patients are put under sedation and remain asleep during varicocelectomy surgery. A local anesthesia is also used to numb the area being treated.
After the incision is made, the attending vein doctor will proceed to cut away damaged veins while looking through a microscope hanging above the operating table. A varicocelectomy is an extremely delicate procedure, as the area being treated also contains many lymphatic vessels and arteries which cannot be cut. The goal of the procedure is to maintain proper function of all vessels in that area while preventing any swelling that may occur as a result of bad valves in the venous system. The incision and any layers of tissue that have been cut will be stitched together after the damaged veins are removed.
Patients may feel bruised and uncomfortable during the first few days of the varicocelectomy recovery period. They can take over-the-counter pain medication to manage any post-operative pain. It takes approximately 3 days before patients can return to work.
If you’d like to learn more about treatment for varicocele with varicocelectomy, then contact a veins surgeon in your area. Some doctors perform another form of varicocelectomy that involves a bigger incision into the abdominal wall while the patient is under general anesthesia. Typically, this more extensive varicocele surgery requires more recovery time and may involve increased post-operative pain. A veins doctor will know which operation is best for your particular situation. If you have concerns about varicocele and infertility, contact a doctor listed in our medical directory.