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What are the Different Types of Varicocele Treatment?

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  • Written By: H. Lo
  • Edited By: Lauren Fritsky
  • Last Modified Date: 06 November 2016
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Varicocele is a medical condition in which veins in the scrotum enlarge due to poor blood flow. This is a common condition that is usually harmless and thus requires no treatment other than taking pain medication or wearing a scrotal support to relieve pressure. There are certain circumstances under which a person might require varicocele treatment, though, such as if there is atrophy, pain or problems with fertility. When there is a need for varicocele treatment, there are two different methods to choose from: surgery or embolization. Both of these treatment methods reroute blood away from the enlarged veins.

There are two types of surgical procedures for varicocele treatment: open surgery and laparoscopic surgery. The use of open surgery is more common than laparoscopic surgery because the latter is riskier and considered to hold little advantage. During open surgery, the urologist makes an incision through the abdomen or groin and ties off the enlarged veins. With laparoscopic surgery, the urologist inserts a medical instrument, known as a laparoscope, to view and perform the procedure. Both surgeries are usually done as an outpatient procedure with general anesthesia.

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Embolization is a second choice of varicocele treatment. The urologist inserts a catheter into a vein through the patient’s groin or neck and uses an x-ray to help him guide instruments through this tube. The urologist inserts a tiny coil into the enlarged vein to block and reroute blood. Like varicocele surgery, embolization is also done as an outpatient procedure, although it does not require anesthesia; rather it utilizes sedation.

As an outpatient procedure, the patient does not require hospital stay after varicocele treatment. When the patient goes home, he will need to keep ice on the area to reduce swelling; in addition, he might wear a scrotal support to alleviate any discomfort or pain. Recovery time varies with each procedure. Surgery takes longer to recuperate from than embolization, with the patient needing a recovery time between two and six weeks. Since the cut from an embolization is smaller than the one from a surgery, recovery time is shorter, with most patients recovering within several days.

Varicocele treatment might relieve pain but, in general, there is no guarantee that it improves fertility, even though sperm count might increase. In addition, treatment also does not improve atrophy unless the procedure was done early enough in the patient’s adolescent years. Like any medical procedure, varicocele treatment comes with its share of complications. These complications include atrophic testis, blood clots and infection.

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anon230168
Post 1

I had new on set of purple spots on my scrotum.

They were diagnosed as varicoceles. In reality, I had a lyme infection which caused my hematocrit to go up. I ended up almost dying of massive pulmonary emboli. After coumadin therapy and antibiotics, all the purple spots that were thought to be varicoceles vanished. They were actually tiny blood clots. I had them in my legs too.

System infections can lead to sticky blood.

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