Varicocele embolisation

Varicocele embolisation, a minimally invasive 'pin-hole' procedure, has replaced surgery as the recommended treatment for a varicocele. It is well tolerated by patients with a high chance of clinical success and a very low complication rate.

A varicocele is a collection of dilated veins in the scrotum, similar to varicose veins in the leg, caused by an abnormal testicular vein, the vessel that drains blood from the testicle back to the heart. Varicoceles typically cause a dragging sensation, ache or pain in the scrotum often worse after standing for long periods and sometimes accompanied by a small lump. They are sometimes associated with a reduced sperm count which can improve if the varicocele is treated.

Varicocele embolisation is a day-case procedure performed under local anaesthetic (light sedation is optional) and usually takes 30-45 minutes to complete. It involves passing a very thin plastic tube into a vein in the groin or the base of the neck and navigated into the testicular vein. A series of thin metal coils are deployed into the faulty testicular vein which is then permanently blocked.

The procedure, performed by a specially trained Consultant Radiologist, is usually very well tolerated and patients go home after 1-2 hours of observation. Following the procedure normal activity can be resumed although vigorous exercise is not advised for one week. Some patients complain of a mild abdominal ache on the side of the groin or abdomen which settles after a few days.

In our practice, the procedure is successful at significantly improving varicocele pain in over 90% of patients. For the small minority for whom it doesn't work or is not technically possible surgery is still an option.

If you would like further information or to book a consultation to discuss the procedure please contact Berkshire Imaging.

Further Information

Patient information sheet

Berkshire Imaging LLP . The Forbury Clinic . 23 Craven Road . Reading . Berkshire . RG1 5LE . Telephone: 0118 921 3177
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