Up to 15% of men experience a vein condition called varicocele. A varicocele is an enlarged vein in the scrotum, and while it’s generally harmless, it might be painful or make it difficult for you to father a child.
If you notice swollen veins in your scrotum and you’re 1 infertility, make an appointment with Eric Seaman, MD. Dr. Seaman is a urologist and male fertility expert located here in Millburn, New Jersey, and he regularly diagnoses and treats varicoceles in men affected by the condition. Dr. Seaman can help you determine if a varicocelectomy procedure might be appropriate for you.
When to consider varicocelectomy
A varicocele is a varicose vein or veins. Varicose veins can occur anywhere in the body but most people are familiar with varicose veins in the leg. In the case of varicocele, the veins are located in the scrotum, next to the testicle. The appearance of varicoceles has been said to resemble a bag of worms; they are more commonly located next to the left testicle. Doctors aren’t sure what causes varicoceles to form, but they’re fairly common in men of all ages. Young men and teen boys may be more likely to experience the condition.
The swollen, enlarged veins of a varicocele may be visible when you stand but disappear when you lie down. They usually aren’t painful, so you may not notice you have one until the doctor identifies it during a routine exam.
If varicoceles do cause pain, it might feel like:
- A dull ache
- squeezing sensation that gets worse after long periods of standing
- Pain that gets worse later in the day
A common effect of varicoceles is male infertility. Likely in part due to the slow or stagnant blood flow through the varicoceles there can be interference or a detrimental effect on sperm production. Dr. Seaman might recommend varicocelectomy, a surgical procedure to treat varicoceles. Varicocelectomy can be a good option if you’re in pain, facing fertility problems, or one testicle is significantly smaller than the other.
What to expect with a varicocelectomy
A varicocelectomy is a straightforward outpatient procedure. When you come in for the procedure, our team takes the time to make you feel comfortable. We generally perform varicocelectomy procedures with general anesthesia, but you can go home the same day.
During the procedure, Dr. Seaman makes a single small opening in the groin. He uses microsurgical instruments to seal the enlarged veins. The surgery takes about one hour.
After your varicocelectomy, the closed veins will naturally scar down as you heal. Blood flow to the testicles will improve, enhancing fertility and eliminating pain. Varicocelectomy has the potential to significantly improve your semen analysis results and give you a much better chance of attaining a pregnancy with your partner.
After your varicocelectomy, you’ll want to follow our guidelines for a healthy recovery. We generally recommend avoiding sexual activity for a few days and strenuous physical activity for a few weeks following the procedure. If possible, consider taking a few days off work to recover.
You don’t have to live with enlarged varicoceles and reduced fertility. Book a consultation with Dr. Seaman to learn if a varicocelectomy is right for you.