How does varicocele treatment work?
There are three main options to treat varicoceles: open surgery, laparoscopy and embolisation.
In open surgery, an incision is made in either the scrotum or the groin, and the tissues beneath are separated until the problematic veins are revealed. The veins will then be tied, so that blood flow is redirected to other, normally functioning, veins. The procedure is usually performed as a day case, and either general or local anaesthetic may be used.
In laparoscopic varicocele treatment, the incision is made in the abdomen and a tiny instrument is passed through the incision down into the scrotum in order to find and repair the varicocele. Laparoscopic surgery is always performed under a general anaesthetic.
Embolisation is generally performed using either local anaesthesia or twilight sedation, where the patient is in a semi-conscious state. A tube is inserted through an incision in the groin, or sometimes in the neck, and the surgeon releases small metal coils into the tube, which block the flow of blood to the enlarged veins, repairing the varicocele.