Varicoceles are among the most common conditions in men. Some estimates suggest that 15-20 percent of men suffer from varicoceles. Varicoceles are nothing but an enlargement of the veins that carry blood to the testicles. In most cases, the condition is benign and offer nothing more than mild discomfort. However, sometimes the condition could get severe and warrant a more concrete treatment. This is where varicocele surgery comes into the picture. Let’s take a better look at the condition and the treatment offered by the best men health clinic in Delhi.
What is a varicocele?
The scrotum in males contains not just the testicles, but also arteries and veins. The veins are responsible for the blood flow between the testicles and the rest of the body. These veins are called pampiniform plexus.
Sometimes, the flow of blood is obstructed in the testicles, leading to the enlargement of the veins. This is called a varicocele, so named due to its resemblance to the varicose veins. Varicocele is a common condition that might cause a range of reactions, from mild pain to infertility.
Causes of Varicocele
It is unclear what exactly causes varicocele. Some possible causes include:
- The spermatic cord connects the testicles to the rest of the body. It is responsible for the flow of blood from the testicles to the heart, and vice versa. However, sometimes a blockage occurs in the cord and a pool of blood begins to form. This enlarges the veins and hence develops varicocele.
- The left and right testicles are aligned differently in males. The left testicle requires more pressure to keep the blood flowing. Hence, even a minor blockage can cause varicocele to develop there.
- Sometimes, a lymph node can become swollen and block the blood flow in the testicles.
Diagnosis of Varicocele
The first mode of diagnosis is always a physical examination. Varicocele is usually described as a “bag of worms”, referring to the prominent veins covering the scrotum. If it is not visible easily, the doctor might seek to exert pressure on the veins by making you stand up.
If the physical examination doesn’t work, the doctor might suggest a scrotal ultrasound. The test gives an accurate picture of the size of veins in your scrotum, and whether they are larger than usual.
Once diagnosed, the doctor classifies the condition on a grade between 1 and 3. The grading is done depending on the size of the lump, intensity of the pain etc. Grade 1 can often be ignored while grade 2 and 3 require surgery.
Who needs Varicocele surgery?
In most cases, varicoceles are harmless. They might occasionally become a source of minor pain. Consuming painkillers should be enough to deal with it. Athletic support also helps in relieving minor discomfort caused by varicocele. It must be noted that no home remedy can permanently treat varicocele, only deal with the pain.
However, you could consider surgery in the following cases:
- Infertility is the most common complication caused by varicoceles. 35-45 percent patients suffer from primary infertility, while up to 75 percent suffer from secondary infertility (inability to father a second child). If your doctor diagnoses varicoceles are a cause of infertility in you, then varicocele treatment becomes a must.
- Sharp and/or severe pain that persists for a long time or without stop. If the pain hinders your daily functions, then surgery might be a good option.
- Due to varicocele, the blood flow into the testicles is often restricted, thereby shrinking them. The blockage in the spermatic cord can also lead to the collection of toxins in the testicles and eventually to testicular damage.
Surgical Treatments For Varicocele
There is no one-size-fits-all treatment for varicoceles. Depending upon the severity of the condition, various surgeries are used. Following are the available varicocele treatments for the condition:
The most common treatment of varicoceles is varicocelectomy. It is a type of open surgery where the surgeon makes an incision in the abdomen or groin. He would then approach the vein in question and try to repair it. The procedure is finished on the same day, and the patient is under general anaesthesia throughout the operation.
Varicocelectomy is an invasive surgery, but it has a high success rate. Advances in medical technology have led to the use of techniques like Doppler ultrasound and surgical microscope, which significantly improve the chances.
This is a more specialized, less invasive type of varicocelectomy. In microsurgical varicocelectomy, a microscope is used to make tiny (< 1 inch) incisions to repair the enlarged veins. This type of surgery has many advantages for treating varicoceles. Since the blood vessels in the testicles are extremely small, microsurgical varicocelectomy allows to only remove the enlarged veins without affecting the arteries. It also allows the surgeons to preserve the lymphocytes, which are blood vessels responsible for draining fluids in the testicles, thus avoiding the possibility of hydrocele after of the surgery. The recovery time is also shorter.
Another type of surgery is Laparoscopic surgery. As the name suggests, it uses a laparoscope which is inserted via small incision in either the groin or the abdomen. Then, the surgeon tries to repair the vein using the laparoscope. It is a less invasive form of varicocele treatment.
Among all the varicocele treatments, Varicocele embolization is perhaps the least evasive one. Here, no incision is required at all. A tube is inserted into the body of the patient via either the neck or the groin. Then, the tube releases a coil or a chemical into the testicular veins. This stops the blockade and repairs the veins. While it is quite safe, it is also complicated to do, and surgeons keep it as a last option.
Risks and Side-Effects
Before going into the surgery, you should be aware of the risks and possible side-effects:
– Hydrocele; build-up of fluids in the scrotum
– Inflammation around the incision made in the scrotum
– Infection and subsequent fever
– Nausea and feeling of throwing up
– Difficulty during urination and inability to completely empty the bladder
Most of these side-effects could be avoided or quickly dealt with if you get operated by the best men health clinic in Delhi.
Recovery from Varicocele Treatment
Once you are discharged from the hospital, recovery is quick. It usually takes only two weeks to completely recover from the operations, though you can go back to work in just a week. During the recovery, you should avoid certain things like sexual intercourse, strenuous exercise or exerting pressure on the scrotum. You should also avoid immersing scrotum in water, like during bathing, swimming etc. Exerting pressure during pooping is also to be avoided; doctors could prescribe stool softeners to ease the bowel movement.
Results of Varicocele Treatment
Infertility is the primary reason behind having a varicocele surgery. After recovery, a semen analysis is performed to check sperm in your semen. In 60-80 per cent of the cases, patients reported improvement in their fertility. In case you don’t see any improvement, the doctor would have to look for other factors affecting your fertility.
In other cases, like blood clotting in testicles or severe pain, there is almost always a definite improvement. Some mild pain might persist for a few months after the surgery, but it is nothing to worry about.
Varicoceles are largely harmless, but they could easily turn into something severe if you are not careful. When you encounter such a situation, it is always preferable to find the best men health clinic in Delhi and seek medical action.
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