Varicocele is an enlargement of the veins within the loose bag of skin that holds the testicles scrotum, is not unlike the varicose veins that appear in the legs.

It occurs about one in six male.

Bouton play

Pr. Loffroy – Head of department of vascular and interventional radiology,
Centre Hospitalier Universitaire (CHU), Dijon, France

Varicocele – how it looks like

Treatment options

Often, varicoceles are not treated. Treatment is offered for males who have:
Fertility problems (problems fathering a child), pain, the left testicle growing
more slowly than the right, abnormal semen analysis. There are no drugs
to treat or prevent varicoceles. But pain killers (such as acetaminophen
or ibuprofen) may help with pain.



The two approaches used
most commonly are:

Microscopic varicocelectomy:
With this technique, the surgeon
makes a 1 cm incision above the
scrotum. The procedure takes 2 to 3 hours to complete and patient is discharged home on the same day

Laparoscopic varicocelectomy:
With this technique, the surgeon
inserts thin tubes in the abdomen
and perform vein ligation.
The procedure is shorter and
takes approximately 30-40 minutes
to complete. Patient is discharged
home on the same day.
Both surgery approaches are done
under general anesthesia.



Embolization is done by
an Interventional Radiologist.
Injection of contrast through
a tube with x-ray guidance is used
to see the source of the problem.

The goal is to find all veins leading
to the varicocele. Coils, plugs with
or without sclerosant, are used
to block the blood flow to
the varicocele and scar them down.

It is done either with local anesthetic
or with light sedation through a very small hole in the groin or neck.
The method most often lasts
45 minutes to an hour.

After treatment


Healing after surgery is fast and
pain is often mild. You should avoid
exercise for 10 to 14 days.
You can often return to work
5 to 7 days after surgery.
You will also follow-up with your
urologist. For surgery done for
fertility problems, semen
analysis is done three to
four months later.


Healing after embolization is also
relatively short with only mild pain.
You should avoid exercise for
7 to 10 days after the procedure.
You can often return to work one
to two days later. The recurrence rate
with embolization is on par with surgery.
But there are cases where embolization
is preferred over surgery. The impact
of varicocele repair on fertility isn’t clear.

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