VaricocelectomyVaricocele is a condition characterized by abnormally dilated scrotal veins – that is, blood vessels in the scrotum. It is among the most common causes of male infertility. A varicocelectomy is a surgical procedure performed to correct this problem. In fact, it is the most commonly performed male infertility procedure. Varicocele is somewhat analogous to varicose veins seen in the legs, and occurs when valves in the veins that normally prevent blood from flowing backward no longer function properly, allowing blood to pool in the veins. The condition affects about 15 percent of all men, about 40 percent of men who exhibit primary infertility (that is, who have not fathered a child) and about 70 percent of men with secondary infertility (men have fathered at least one pregnancy but are currently unable to conceive). Men with varicoceles sometimes experience a heavy, aching feeling in the scrotum, particularly after long periods of standing. The condition usually develops during adolescence when the blood flow to the testicles increases as the sexual organs grow and mature.
Varicocele can be diagnosed visually by an examining specialist and confirmed with tests such as a Doppler ultrasound, which detects backward or retrograde flow of blood in the veins, and can measure the diameter of the blood vessels and blood flow in the testicles. Microsurgery has revolutionized the formerly invasive varicocelectomy procedure. Today surgeons perform microscopic sub-inguinal varicocelectomy, requiring just a single tiny incision in the groin, below the underwear line. Using an operating microscope, the surgeon – usually a urologist specializing in these techniques – visually examines and identifies the problem veins and severs or ligates them. The procedure requires about one hour, causes little discomfort, and recovery time is typically a few days. We perform many varicocelectomies here at the Center for Vasectomy, Vasectomy Reversal and Male Fertility in Millburn, New Jersey. Don’t let this problem interfere with your comfort or desire to have a family – it’s easily treatable by a qualified doctor of urology.