What is a Varicoceles Surgery or Varicocelectomy?
A varicocele is enlargement of the veins within the scrotum or scrotal sac. Scrotal sac is the pouch that holds testicles. This condition can prevent blood flow to the reproductive organ. Since blood does not return to the heart, it pools in the scrotum thus making it enlarged. Varicocele can result in reduced sperm count.
Varicocelectomy is a surgery done to remove those enlarged veins. The procedure is performed to restore proper blood flow to the reproductive organs.
What are the causes of Varicocele
The exact cause of varicocele is not known. Sometimes the valves in the veins may be missing or may not work properly. It can also be due to sluggish blood flow causing blood to pool in the veins.
Sometimes more pressure is required on left side of testicles to keep the blood flowing towards heart. This is because the large veins from testicles towards the heart are connected differently on the left and right side.
How Varicocele is diagnosed
Varicoceles can be found through self-examination, through doctor’s physical examination or an ultrasound
Through self-exam of the scrotum or routine doctor’s examination, your urologist may feel the scrotum above the testicle to find any enlarged veins. They are also referred to as “bag of worms” because of how they look and feel.
Urologist may also suggest a scrotal ultrasound test depending on the physical check-up. An ultrasound will show wider veins, more than 3mm with blood flowing in wrong direction. The ultrasound can also show the size of the testicles.
What are the symptoms of Varicocele
There are usually no symptoms of varicocele. But it can be a cause of concern for various other factors. The most common concern is infertility. Varicocele may also cause low sperm count and slow growth of the left testicle during puberty.
How to prevent Varicocele
There are no drugs to treat or prevent varicoceles. Only pain killers are suggested to help with pain
What is the treatment of Varicocele
Normally varicocele is not treated. Treatment is done if there are other related problems like slow growth of left testicle, infertility, abnormal semen, pain.
Surgery is the only treatment available for varicocele. Embolization (briefly blocking the veins) is a non-surgical treatment option
What is the process of varicocele surgery / Varicocelectomy
The most common procedure is a laparoscopic varicocelectomy. Your doctor performs this surgery using several small cuts and a laparoscope with a light and camera to see inside your body. Your doctor might perform an open surgery, which uses one large cut to allow your doctor to see inside your body without a camera.
To perform a laparoscopic varicocelectomy, your doctor will:
- Make several small incisions in your lower abdomen.
- Insert the laparoscope through one of the incisions, allowing them to see inside your body using a screen that projects the camera view.
- Introduce gas into your abdomen to allow more space for the surgical procedure.
- Insert surgical tools through other small incisions.
- Use tools to cut any enlarged veins that are obstructing blood flow.
- Close off the ends of the veins using small clamps or by cauterizing them with heat.
- Take out the tools and laparoscope once the cut veins are sealed.
What is the cost of varicocele surgery / Varicocelectomy cost in Nigeria
varicocele surgery / Varicocelectomycosts depend on various factors like;
1. Type of surgery
2. Age of the patient and other medical conditions
3. Location and choice of the Hospital
4. Experience of Surgeon
Frequently Asked Questions about Varicocele (FAQs)
What’s Recovery like from the varicocelectomy?
The surgery takes about 1 to 2 hours. Later, you’ll be placed in a recovery room until you wake up. You’ll spend about 1 to 2 hours recovering before your doctor clears you to go home.
During your recovery at home, you’ll need to:
- Take any medications that your doctor prescribes.
- Take pain medications like ibuprofen, to lessen your pain after surgery.
- Adhere to your doctor’s instructions for cleaning your incisions.
- Place an ice pack to your scrotum for 10 minutes several times a day to reduce swelling.
Avoid the following activities until your doctor says you can go back to them:
- No sexual intercourse for up to two weeks.
- Avoid any strenuous exercise or lifting of anything heavier than 10 pounds.
- Don’t swim, take a bath or immerse your scrotum in water.
- Don’t drive or operate any machinery.
- Don’t strain yourself when you poop.
Does varicocelectomy Procedure Affect Fertility?
This surgical procedure can help increase fertility by restoring blood flow to your scrotum, which can bring about increased sperm and testosterone production.
Your doctor will carry out a semen analysis to see how much your fertility improves. Varicocelectomy often results in a sixty to eighty percent improvement in semen analysis results. Cases of pregnancy after varicocelectomy often increase to 20 to 60 percent.
What are the success rate of Varicocelectomy
that has a great chance of improving your fertility and decreasing complications of obstructed blood flow into your reproductive organs.
Is Varicocelectomy safe?
Varicocelectomy is a safe surgical procedure with minimal complications. But, As with any surgical procedure, there are some risks and may not be a 100% cure for your infertility. Discuss with your doctor to know whether this surgery is necessary and if it will have any effect on your sperm count.
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