A varicocele is an enlargement of the veins within the loose bag of skin that holds your testicles (scrotum). Varicoceles are a common cause of low sperm production and decreased sperm quality, which can cause infertility. However, not all varicoceles affect sperm production. With time, varicoceles might enlarge and become more noticeable. A varicocele has been described as looking like a “bag of worms.” The condition might cause a swollen testicle, mostly on the left side.
Infertility. Varicoceles might keep the local temperature in or around the testicle too high, affecting sperm formation, movement (motility) and function. Many men with varicoceles are able to father a child without any treatment. However, if your varicocele causes pain, testicular atrophy or infertility or if you are considering assisted reproductive techniques, you might want to undergo varicocele repair.
The purpose of surgery is to seal off the affected vein to redirect the blood flow into normal veins. In cases of male infertility, treatment of a varicocele might improve or cure the infertility or improve the quality of sperm if techniques such as in vitro fertilization (IVF) are to be used.
Varicocele Repair methods include: Open Surgery. This treatment usually is done on an outpatient basis, during general or local aesthetic. Commonly, your surgeon will approach the vein through your groin (inguinal or subinguinal), but it’s also possible to make an incision in your abdomen or below your groin.
Advances in varicocele repair have led to a reduction of post-surgical complications. One advance is the use of the surgical microscope, which enables the surgeon to see the treatment area better during surgery. Another is the use of Doppler ultrasound, which helps guide the procedure. Pain from this surgery generally is mild but might continue for few days. Open surgery using a microscope and subinguinal approach (microsurgical subinguinal varicocelectomy) has the highest success rates when compared with other surgical methods.