Varicocele embolization is a non-surgical vascular treatment designed to safely reduce and eliminate varicoceles. It accomplishes this by closing off the blood supply to the faulty spermatic vein, causing the varicocele to shrink. After a short time, the vein will cease to function, and the patient will be free of all associated symptoms.
The treatment is performed by a specialist known as an interventional radiologist. The specialist will sedate the patient to make them comfortable, but they are allowed to stay conscious during the duration of the procedure.
The first step is the doctor will make a small nick in the skin near the patient’s groin, and insert a thin catheter into the femoral vein. This will be guided with xray image guidance through veins until it reaches the varicocele. The interventional radiologist then injects a contrast through the catheter that can be seen under real time xray. This allows them to map out the pathways of the patients blood vessels, and more easily find the varicocele.
Once the catheter reaches the varicocele, a combination of permanent metal coils and a scarring chemical will be injected into the faulty vein. This causes a blockage, redirecting flow away from the varicocele and cutting off its blood supply. Without a steady flow of blood, the varicocele will shrink. Blood flow will be redirected by the body through normal deep pelvic veins. The doctor will then remove the catheter, and the procedure will be complete.
Varicocele embolization is best suited for anyone experiencing a symptomatic varicocele who wants a less invasive procedure than major surgery. Even if a patient has had failed varicocele surgery, they are still a candidate for varicocele embolization. Likewise, if symptoms are not adequately treated with embolization, surgery is still an option. Untreated varicoceles in teens can result in slowed growth of the testicles, as well as pain and swelling. If the varicocele is allowed to progress, cases have shown they can cause infertility. Sperm counts, morphology and function can improve after varicocele embolization.
Varicocele embolization has been shown to be highly effective in relieving the symptoms of varicoceles. The recovery time is far quicker than an open varicocelectomy, and does not require the use of general anaesthetic. This is also a same day procedure, so you will leave after your treatment is complete and recover in the comfort of your own home.
Varicocele embolization is an excellent choice for those who don’t wish to pursue a surgical option. General anesthesia and surgery carry higher chances of complications, and higher risk of infection. Varicocele embolization does not require a large incision, so will not result in the significant scarring associated with major surgeries.
When choosing a facility to perform your varicocele embolization, it is vital to select the best available care. You will want to choose a lab with well trained staff, who have access to cutting-edge medical technology.
The main risk with any blood vessel procedure is bleeding from the site of access. To decrease this risk, the interventional radiologist will place firm pressure on the groin access site at the conclusion of the procedure. However, since the procedure is performed through a vein, bleeding risk is very low. Some patients may experience mild dull aching back pain for several weeks after the procedure but this is uncommon. In general, recommendation to refrain from sex and hard physical activity is all that is recommended following varicocele embolization.
If you want medical expertise you can count on, and a staff with your best interests at heart, you’ll want to choose Peripheral Vascular Partners.
At Peripheral Vascular Partners, we are confident in our knowledge of vascular treatments. We know surgery can be a risky and worrisome prospect, and we want patients to know there are alternative treatment options available. We’ve made it our mission to ensure our patients feel comfortable during their procedures, and leave knowing that they received the absolute best medical care.
An open varicocelectomy is not your only option. If you don’t wish to have major surgery, varicocele embolization can eliminate your varicocele without the risk and discomfort of invasive procedures. When selecting a procedure, you’ll want to know all you can before moving forward. We can answer any questions you have, simply schedule a consultation today!