Enlargement of veins in scrotum is called Varicocele. Veins carry blood from different parts of the body to the heart. Same is the function of veins in scrotum, the sack that holds your balls. The blood that is supposed to return to the heart gets stuck in the veins due to the damage of valves in it. As a result the veins bulge up resulting in varicocele.
The bulged veins can obstruct the flow of blood to the testicles and other parts in the reproductive system. Consequently, productions of testosterone and sperms decrease resulting in low sex drive and near infertility, if not treated on time.
What is varicocelectomy?
Varicocelectomy is the procedure in which the bulged veins on scrotum are removed. This is done using a laparoscope (called laparoscopic varicocelectomy) or through an incision, conventional style of varicocele surgery.
How is laparoscopic varicocelectomy surgery performed?
- Full body anesthesia is given to the patient to keep him unconscious during the surgery. In order to prepare of the surgery, the patient will be advised not to drink or eat anything on the day of surgery.
- Once sedated, few small incisions are made on the lower abdomen.
- Through one of the incisions, a laparoscope (tube with a camera it’s end) is inserted to see inside the body. Other instruments are inserted through other incisions that will be used to remove the bulged veins.
- Once the varicose veins are removed, the incisions are stitched up and the patient is allowed to rest for few hours in the hospital/clinic.
In conventional varicocelectomy, one large incision is made to see what’s inside the body, to locate the varicose veins and to remove them. The benefit of laparoscopic varicocelectomy is, smaller incisions, lower blood loss and quick recovery.
Should every one with varicocele undergo varicocelectomy?
“Varicocelectomy need not be opted by everyone who has a varicocele” says Dr. Karthik Gunasekaran, an expert sexologist and urologist from Metromale Clinic and Fertility Center, Chennai. If the varicocele is not causing any pain or discomfort, they may just ignore it. However, if the person is planning to become a father in the future and doesn’t want to take any chances should undergo the surgery.
Varicocele usually occurs on the left side of the testicle. If there is any bulge or swelling on the right side of your scrotum, you need to let you sexologist see it and take immediate therapy because, it may be due to tumors some times. Male infertility is the most common thing that happens after a man suffers from varicocele. However, a varicocelectomy increases the chances of fertility because of improved blood supply to the testicles.
Care to be taken after varicocelectomy surgery
Varicocelectomy is a day care procedure. That means the patient will be discharged the same day (most often) after the surgery. After the patient goes home, following care will help in recovering from varicocelectomy faster:
- Follow doctor’s prescription religiously. Patient will be given pain killers and antibiotics to arrest any possible infection at the site of incision.
- Apply icepack if there is any swelling or pain during the process of healing. If the swelling doesn’t subside, or if the incisions start bleeding or secrete puss, contact your doctor immediately.
- Avoid contact with water until your doctor says that it’s ok to take bath or swim.
- Don’t have sex for at least two weeks after surgery.
- Don’t lift weights
- Take stool softeners if you are constipated.
Should you have any question or if you don’t feel anything right such as pain not subsiding after couple of days and even after application of ice pack, talk to your doctor immediately.
Possible side effects of varicocelectomy
- Hydrocele – build up of fluids in the testicle
- Problem peeing and emptying your bladder (can lead to incontinence of the bladder muscles were affected during the surgery. That’s one reason why you should always see an experienced and trained sexologist for your surgeries)
- Infection in the area or a high fever
- Nausea or vomiting
- Inflammation or leakage of puss from the incision site
You should see your doctor if you have any such complication/side effect after varicocelectomy procedure.
Varicocelectomy can improve a man’s fertility
Varicocelectomy restores the blood supply to testicles and other parts in the scrotum. As a result normal production of testosterone and sperms will resume. It has been observed that, after varicocelectomy, 60 – 80% improvement in fertility rate was seen (tests done on semen analysis).