Benefits of Varicocele Embolization

Mar 07, 2023
Benefits of Varicocele Embolization
Varicoceles can cause pain, discomfort, and even fertility problems. Thankfully, minimally-invasive varicocele embolization can help.

If you’re dealing with the bothersome effects of a varicocele, finding relief is probably at the top of your priority list. Some 15% of men develop one at some point.

If yours is symptomatic or negatively impacting your fertility, varicocele embolization may be just what the doctor ordered.

At his Midtown Manhattan practice, double board-certified radiologist Dr. Yosef Golowa specializes in this minimally invasive procedure. Let’s delve into varicoceles, including what to expect from embolization.

Varicocele basics

The veins in your testicles transport blood that’s depleted of oxygen out of your scrotum. A varicocele happens when one of those veins becomes enlarged. So instead of normal blood circulation, the blood pools up inside the vein.

You can have an asymptomatic varicocele for much of your life without realizing it. In some cases, however, a varicocele causes:

  • Visible, lumpy mass in your scrotum
  • Dull, aching pain or discomfort – especially while standing or later in the day
  • Pain that improves when you lie down
  • Differently sized testicles
  • Infertility (in 10-20% of cases)

In fact, varicoceles are usually detected during an infertility evaluation, when the vein hasn’t caused noticeable symptoms.

While the precise cause of varicoceles is unknown, a malfunctioning valve in one of your veins may contribute. And most often, they affect the left testicle.

What happens during varicocele embolization

During varicocele embolization, Dr. Golowa inserts a slim, flexible tube (catheter) into a vein in your groin. He then guides it to the varicocele using special X-ray images, where he places a coil or medication to block blood flow. Once that’s done, your body redirects blood through another vein, preventing the pooling up of blood. 

Benefits of varicocele embolization

Varicocele embolization can help ensure your physical comfort, reduce any self-consciousness you experience about mismatched testes, and support normal fertility. Treatment for varicoceles can also help prevent gradual tissue shrinkage, maintaining normal testicle size.

The traditional surgery known as microscopic varicocelectomy takes about 2-3 hours. Varicocele embolization, on the other hand, requires only a small puncture and typically takes up to one hour.

Other advantages you can look forward to include:

  • Far less invasive than surgery
  • Fewer potential complications, such as infection
  • No need for hospital time
  • Short recovery time

While you might experience some temporary discomfort after your procedure, you can expect to return to your usual daily activities within 1-2 days, and you can exercise within a week.

Recurrence of varicocele veins after treatment is uncommon, especially after microscopic procedures like embolization.

To learn more about varicocele embolization or to get the care you need, call our office or book an appointment with Dr. Golowa through our website today.