The scrotum contains blood vessels, testes where sperm are made, and part of the spermatic cord. The scrotum also contains a group of veins allowing blood to flow around the reproductive system. However, when there are poorly functioning valves, the veins may swell and develop an abnormal enlargement. South Florida Vascular Associates offers varicocele embolization, a procedure that aims to relieve this enlargement by diverting blood flow from the blocked veins to healthy ones. The procedure will safely relieve the swelling and any associated pain to increase sperm quality in infertile males. Here are some common questions people ask about varicocele embolization.
Why Would You Need This Procedure?
You develop a varicocele when an abnormal enlargement develops in the veins of your scrotum. The swelling will occur when you have a poorly functioning valve that causes the scrotal veins to swell. As a result, you will need treatment to resolve this swelling. While the condition may not show symptoms, you will likely experience pain and swelling that could lead to infertility if not treated. Therefore, you want to get treatment to avoid infertility if symptoms and diagnosis confirm you have varicocele.
Are There Risks To The Procedure?
Although you can consider the procedure safe, you could develop rare risks, including infection, excess bleeding, inflammation in the vein and scrotum, and lower back pain. Also, the coil that blocks the swollen vein may migrate, and you can develop allergic reactions and nausea. Furthermore, the treatment may fail, and the varicocele may come back even with successful treatment. Other possible risks depend on your anatomy, age, and general health.
How Do You Prepare For Treatment?
You will need to go through a question and answer session before your doctor takes you in for varicocele embolization. Your doctor will ask you to talk about your medical history, current prescriptions and medications, symptoms, and any drug allergies. You can lower your chance of complications from this procedure by avoiding smoking, not eating food, and drinking some hours before treatment. Your doctor may take you in for an ultrasound to check your scrotum to give a picture of what is happening around your scrotum. Organize a ride home early enough, as you will likely be tired after varicocele embolization.
What Will Happen During Treatment?
You will need anesthesia to help you relax and fall asleep during varicocele embolization while your doctor keeps your heart rate and blood pressure in check. Your doctor then gives you a numbing injection to the inner thigh and cleans the area. You will require an incision to the site, where your doctor then inserts a catheter and, with the help of an X-ray, guides the tube to the blocked vein. The catheter will insert tiny coils into the vein to block blood flow. Thus, the abnormal flow will stop, and blood will divert to healthy veins. As a result, swelling will reduce if the diversion procedure succeeds.
Varicocele embolization is generally a safe procedure for relieving pain and abnormal swelling in the scrotum. While your varicocele may be back, the treatment is worth trying because continuing symptoms will worsen the symptoms and eventually lead to infertility. The procedure has minimal risks, which will vary depending on several factors.