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Varicocele Embolization

What is a varicocele?

Varicoceles are enlarged veins, similar to varicose veins that occur in the legs, but varicoceles are located in the scrotum. They don’t always cause symptoms or need treatment, but varicocele repair may be indicated if the vein does cause pain, or if you have testicular atrophy or fertility problems.

Blood normally flows to the testicles via an artery and out through a network of veins, with one-way valves preventing blood from flowing back. These valves can fail, allowing the blood to pool and a varicocele to form.

The embolization procedure.

 Varicocele embolization is an outpatient procedure performed under local anesthesia. This nonsurgical treatment helps eliminate the blood flow within the enlarged vein, and does not require a surgical incision into the scrotum.

The procedure is performed by inserting a small catheter through a vein in the groin or neck, aided by x-ray guidance. The interventional radiologist injects small amounts of dye to allow a clear view of the veins and the precise location to embolize. A small coil is then inserted, which blocks the targeted vein. The body will redirect blood to healthy veins.

When the procedure is completed, the catheter is withdrawn and the opening in the skin is dressed. Since no incision is made, no stitches are necessary. The patient can typically return to normal activity within 24 hours.

We will provide you with instructions on how to prepare prior to the procedure. You may be advised to stop taking certain medications for some time before your appointment, such as NSAIDS, aspirin, or blood thinners.

The advantages of varicocele embolization.

Varicocele embolization has a number of advantages over invasive surgical procedures, including:

  • A shorter recovery time and an immediate return to normal activities
  • A 90-percent success rate, similar to invasive techniques
  • Minimal discomfort compared to surgery
  • No long-term scarring
  • No general anesthesia
  • Reduced risk of infection compared to surgical procedures
  • Done on an outpatient basis
  • No surgical incision or stitches are necessary

Contact us to learn more.

Our board-certified physicians have extensive training and experience in minimally invasive vascular procedures. To find out if varicocele embolization is right for you, contact us for a free assessment of your condition or call 904-660-2330 to request an appointment.

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