A varicocele is a tangle of enlarged blood vessels (a varicose vein) in the testicles. It is fairly common, affecting 15 % of men overall and about 40% of men with diagnosed infertility. A varicocele is caused by faulty valves in the blood vessels, allowing blood to pool in the vein, increasing the temperature in the testicles and therefore depressing sperm production.
A varicocele repair – also known as a varicocelectomy or varicocele ligation – is a surgical procedure in which a urologist will tie off the enlarged and weakened veins. It is generally done on an outpatient basis, under general anesthesia, though some urologists prefer to use a local anesthesia.
The night before the procedure, you will be instructed not to eat after midnight. Someone must take you to and from the procedure – like with all procedures under general anesthesia, you will not be allowed to drive yourself home.
The procedure itself usually takes 1-2 hours, depending on the urologist. Once in the recovery area, you will be required to eat and drink something and walk before you can be discharged. Common practice.
Most surgeons do the procedure as a laparoscopy, so you will have about a 2-3 inch incision on your groin. Expect some pain in the first few days from the incision & quite a lot of bruising in the area. It will take about 2-4 weeks for the incision to heal completely, however, generally you can resume light work duties 1-2 days after the surgery and full strenuous activity within 1 week.
Generally you will be given a prescription for pain medication for the first few days, but in many cases your over the counter pain tablets are sufficient to control the pain.
Your urologist will schedule a post operation follow-up with you within a couple weeks of the surgery. If the surgery is infertility related, you will have to undergo both a 3 and 6-month post operation semen analysis.
See your doctor if you notice any of the following:
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