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A varicocele is a commonly occurring condition in younger men. Most are harmless, but they may cause scrotal pain, testicular atrophy, and can be associated with infertility. A varicocele is a network of varicose veins in the scrotum. Traditionally, these have been repaired by open surgery, with a urologic surgeon cutting down to ligate the veins. This usually cures the problem, but involves some risks associated with surgery, and has a recovery period of several weeks.

Our group, VIR are experts at performing a newer, high-tech, non-surgical procedure to treat varicocele called varicocele embolization. Unlike open surgery, this involves no incision near the genitals at all. A tiny catheter is passed through a skin nick at the top of the leg, and passed down into the vein in the abdomen that is causing the problem. Small platinum coils are deposited blocking the abnormal pressure, and curing the varicocele without the surgical incision (see diagram). The patient goes home a few hours later, and can resume normal activities the next day.

Varicocele embolization is as effective as surgery, less painful (virtually painless), safer, and allows a much more rapid recovery time to normal activity. In 2015, we can say confidently that varicocele surgery is unnecessary in the vast majority of men. If you or a loved one have been told that you need traditional open surgery for a varicocele, contact us for a second opinion.

Our group, VIR, have the largest varicocele embolization experience in Illinois.