Veins in the testicles contain one-way valves that allow blood to flow back out toward the heart. When valves fail to work properly, blood pools in the veins around the testicles in the scrotum. This causes an enlarged, varicose vein, or varicocele. Varicoceles can be diagnosed through a physical exam by a physician.
A common condition among men, varicoceles requires treatment only if it causes troubling symptoms including
- aching pain
- shrinkage of the testicles
- fertility problems
Minimally invasive procedure: varicocele embolization
Good Shepherd Hospital offers a non-surgical alternative that does not require general anesthesia, incisions or sutures in the scrotum. To correct the varicose vein, a radiologist uses imaging to guide a catheter from the large leg vein into the testicular vein. Contrast dye is injected to help identify the problem vein. Then, by using coils, balloons, or particles, the interventional radiologist blocks the blood flow in the vein, effectively reducing the swelling and discomfort.
Catheter-directed embolization is done as outpatient treatment using mild IV sedation and local anesthesia. Patients typically return home the same day.
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