Varicocele is a collection of dilated veins in males occurring in the scrotum. They usually occur during adolescence but may sometimes arise later in adulthood.

Varicocele is very much like a varicose vein of the testis and is most frequently caused by a venous valve that is not correctly formed or absent at the level of the renal (kidney) veins.

Pain in the left side of the scrotum to the left lower back is the most common symptom with varicocele. This pain is often described as a dull ache or dragging sensation and is typically worse at the end of the day or after long periods of standing. Symptoms may vary widely between individuals and at various times. The varicocele can usually be felt as a collection of veins at the back of the testis and is more noticeable when standing. Occasionally the problem and symptoms can be on the right side or both sides. Less commonly it is thought to be a factor in infertility.

Varicoceles that do not cause any symptoms do not require treatment. Treatments may be surgical or endovenous (from inside the vein). The endovenous treatment is more popular as it is as effective to more effective than open surgical approaches, has less complication and recovery is quicker. Varicocele embolisation is the name for the endovenous approach and this procedure takes around 30 minutes with the patient going home 2 hours later. A fine plastic tube (catheter) is place in the left groin into the vein and taken up to the origin of the varicocele to the varicose and refluxing testicular vein or gonadal vein. Following this the catheter is placed deep in this varicose vein and blocked (embolised) using both coils and sclerosant foam (polidocanol).

Associate Professor Stuart Lyon has been assessing and treating this condition for 14 years now and is highly experienced in all endovenous treatments for varicocoele.

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