A varicocele is a cluster of enlarged veins in the scrotum, most commonly on the left side. Varicoceles occur when vein valves malfunction, causing blood to pool in veins downstream.
Around 10 percent of all men have varicoceles, with the highest occurrence in men ages 15 to 35. In couples with infertility, varicoceles are found to be present in 30 percent of men.
Symptoms include pain, especially after sitting or standing for a long period of time. Varicocele patients may also experience infertility and/or testicular atrophy.
Varicoceles can be diagnosed by a physical examination or an ultrasound imaging study.
Varicocele Embolization is a non-surgical, outpatient procedure performed by an Interventional Radiologist. With the patient comfortable under mild sedation, the Interventional Radiologist uses imaging to guide a catheter to the abnormal vein. Contrast dye is injected into the vein to visualize all the pathways leading to the varicocele. Following this, the abnormal veins are permanently closed, and blood is re-directed to normal venous channels.
Patients are discharged either the same day or the following morning. They may resume normal activities that do not involve heavy lifting, straining, or exertion. These activities can be resumed 4 weeks following the procedure.
To schedule a consultation with an interventional radiologist please call 704.358.IRMD (4763).