Traditionally the problem of varicocele, infertility among men caused by varicose vein of the scrotum and testicle, was treated through surgery, open or laparoscopic, but after extensive researches safe and effective nonsurgical treatment has been introduced for this purpose.
Brief information provided in this write-up will help you to know how to treat varicocele without surgery.
Varicoceles commonly affect fertility of nearly 10% of men during the second or third decade of their life. It usually shows symptoms of testicular shrinkage, pain and fertility problems but sometimes it shows no such symptoms.
Cause of varicocele
Normally blood flows typically through the left renal vein on the left from scrotal veins to large abdominal draining veins into the aorta on the right directly. But when the valves of these veins fail to work properly, it results into enlargement of veins in the scrotum due to inadequate or reverse flow of blood known as the problem of varicocele.
Symptoms of varicocele
Usually the symptoms of varicocele are mildly observed in most of the case which need no treatment. But pressure and pain in affected area of scrotum is considered as the common symptom of varicocele which can worsen due to lifting heavy items. Problems of infertility, subfertility or testicular atrophy are also associated with varicocele.
Diagnosis of varicocele
The scrotum of the patient may look lumpy like a bag of worms due to abnormal enlargement of varicocele. It can be appropriately diagnosed through ultrasound examination.
Non-surgical treatment of varicocele
Though conventionally surgery, open or laparoscopic, was considered as the only treatment of varicocele but today catheter directed Embolization is considered as the safest and most effective non-surgical alternative for treating this problem.
Normally general anaesthesia or local anaesthesia in some cases was used for the surgical treatment of this problem but for embolization treatment only sedatives or local anaesthesia while performing in an outpatient setting.
Patients need not stay in hospital after embolization. This non-surgical procedure is performed by an interventional radiologist by using imaging devices to guide the induction of catheter along with other instruments into the body.
In order to make the patient feel relaxed and pain free mild sedation or local anaesthesia is used during this procedure which approximately takes two hours.
During the procedure the interventional radiologist uses local anaesthesia before piercing a tiny hole at the groin skin to let the thin catheter pass directly to the testicular vein through femoral vein.
In order to provide direct visualisation to the vein the radiologist then injects contrast dye to map out exact location of the problem and where to block or embolize the vein.
The radiologist blocks the flow of blood into the vein to reduce the pressure on varicocele by using balloons, particles or coils.
The flow of blood is redirected to other healthy veins by embolising the affected vein. In order to prevent the flow of blood into the incompetent vein it is essentially shut off internally. This non-surgical process is accomplished finally by an urologist.
Effectiveness of Embolization for treating Varicocele
Though the cost of embolization is same as that of the surgical treatment of varicocele but still it is preferred to improve male infertility caused due it improper blood flow into this vein as it involves the least incision and no hospitalisation of the patient.
As compared to surgically treated varicocele patients rates of pregnancy and recurrence of problem are much better with non-surgically treated patients.
Several other studies have proved that percentage of improvement in sperm concentration after embolization is much more than after surgical treatment. Patients strongly prefer for embolization even if they have experienced both the procedures.
For embolization it takes one-two days to recover completely as compared to two-three weeks after surgery.
Benefits of embolization for varicocele
Though embolization for varicocele is equally effective to its surgical treatment but still it has many benefits over surgery including:
- . No need of surgical incision in scrotal region
- · Single venous entry allows treatment of both sides
- · No general anaesthesia required
- · Lesser complications than surgery
- · Lesser recovery time without hospitalisation
- · Better improvement in semen secretion and pregnancy rates than surgery
- · No sutures needed
- · Inexpensive treatment
- · No risk of infection
Thus non-surgical treatment of varicocele is much better than its traditional surgical treatment.