A varicocele is a widening of the veins along the spermatic cord that holds up a man’s testicles. It forms when valves inside the veins along the spermatic cord prevent blood from flowing properly. This causes the blood to back up, leading to swelling and widening of the veins.
Varicoceles typically develop on the left side of the scrotum. Researchers theorize that varicoceles are more likely to occur on the left because of the way the left testicular vein joins the kidney vein at a right angle. Symptoms of varioceles may include enlarged, twisted veins in the scrotum, scrotal swelling, a painless testicle lump or a bulge in the scrotum.
Varicoceles commonly cause low sperm counts and infertility problems for men. Up to 40 percent of men with known infertility may have varioceles. One reason is because the average scrotal temperature is approximately 94 degrees. However, in men with varicoceles that temperature is higher. A higher scrotal temperature is known to impact fertility.
The Center for Men’s Health at TUCC specializes in performing subinguinal microsurgical varicocelectomies to correct varicoceles. This outpatient procedure is performed in our ambulatory surgery center and typically lasts less than an hour. During the surgery, a microscopic incision will be made in the abdomen close to where the testicles originally descended through the abdominal wall. Large varicoceles are cut and stapled closed. Smaller varicoceles are cut and stitched shut. The varioceles are identified through an operating microscope as the surgery takes place.
Microsurgical varicocelectomies have higher success rates, fewer complications and leave a smaller scar. Surgical complications are very rare.
Success rates of microsurgical varicocele repair are very high. Clinical data have shown that approximately 70 percent of men will have significant improvement in their semen rates following a microsurgical varicocelectomy.
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