Varicocele embolization is a procedure that eliminates swollen veins in the scrotum. At Apex Endovascular, empathetic board-certified vascular specialist Shawn Ahmed, MD, PhD, recommends varicocele embolization for troublesome varicoceles. This leading-edge procedure shuts off the vein’s blood supply to relieve discomfort, improve fertility, and restore low testosterone levels without major surgery. Call the Fort Collins, Colorado, office today or book your appointment online to learn more.
A varicocele is an enlarged blood vessel in a man’s scrotum. They’re similar to varicose veins in the legs and happen for the same reason: leaky vein valves that allow blood to pool in the vein. About 15% of adult men in America have a varicocele.
Varicoceles range from mild to severe, with the smallest ones only detectable with ultrasound imaging and the most severe ones causing significant deformity of the scrotum.
In many cases, varicoceles don’t cause symptoms. But they can sometimes cause scrotal pain, low testosterone production, fertility problems, and testicle shrinkage. In those situations, a treatment like varicocele embolization can eliminate symptoms and restore your reproductive health.
At Apex Endovascular, Dr. Ahmed typically diagnoses varicoceles with a physical exam. He could do a noninvasive testicular ultrasound to view the varicocele in more detail.
Varicocele embolization is a minimally invasive procedure that blocks blood flow to the varicocele. In this procedure, you’ll receive “twilight” (minor) sedation before Dr. Adhmed creates a little nick in the scrotal skin.
He advances a thin, flexible tube through a vein in your groin, moving it to the varicocele. Dr. Ahmed uses X-ray (fluoroscopic) guidance to position a slender catheter by the varicocele.
He injects a tiny metal coil or a liquid substance directly into the varicocele, which blocks blood flow. The procedure takes about an hour.
You can return home after resting in the recovery area for a few hours. Dr. Ahmed provides recovery directions after your procedure. In general, varicocele embolization causes very little, if any, pain during recovery. You can resume your usual activities by the next day in most cases.
Varicocele surgery involves a general anesthetic and is typically performed at a hospital. It can require a hospital stay afterward. Varicocele surgery usually requires a much more extended recovery period than varicocele embolization.
Because varicocele surgery requires an incision (versus the tiny nick of varicocele embolization), healing is more difficult. You’re much more likely to experience a painful recovery with surgery.
Varicocele embolization and surgery are equally effective in reducing pain, improving sperm count, and improving pregnancy rates — so why choose the more painful, complicated, and costly surgery when a better choice is available?
Call Apex Endovascular today or book your appointment online.