ALERTS & COVID-19 UPDATES Learn more: COVID-19 Resources; COVID-19 Testing; Vaccine Info; Visitor Policy; Support Us

Lahey Health is now part of Beth Israel Lahey Health

by EBSCO Medical Review Board

Definition

Varicocelectomy is surgery to remove an enlarged vein (varicocele) in the scrotum.

Reasons for Procedure

This surgery is done to improve blood flow and fertility.

Possible Complications

Problems are rare, but all procedures have some risk. The doctor will go over some problems that could happen, such as:

  • Excess bleeding
  • Problems from anesthesia, such as wheezing or sore throat
  • Infection
  • Blood clots
  • Injury to the testicle

Things that may raise the risk of problems are:

  • Smoking
  • Chronic diseases, such as diabetes or obesity

What to Expect

Prior to Procedure

The surgical team may meet with you to talk about:

  • Anesthesia options
  • Any allergies you may have
  • Current medicines, herbs, and supplements that you take and whether you need to stop taking them before surgery
  • Fasting before surgery, such as avoiding food or drink after midnight the night before
  • Whether you need a ride to and from surgery

Anesthesia

You will be given general anesthesia. You will be asleep.

Description of the Procedure

A thin tube will be placed in the bladder to drain urine. An incision will be made in the belly or groin during an open surgery. A few small incisions will be made for a laparoscopic surgery.

Tools will be placed through the incision(s). The swollen veins will be cut. The ends may be sealed with small clips or with heat. The tools will be removed. The incisions will be closed with stitches or staples.

How Long Will It Take?

2-3 hours

Will It Hurt?

Pain and swelling is common in the first 1-2 weeks. Medicine and home care can manage pain.

Average Hospital Stay

You may go home the same day. If you have any problems, you may need to stay longer.

Post-procedure Care

At the Hospital

Right after the procedure, the staff will:

  • Remove the catheter
  • Give you pain medicine

During your stay, staff will take steps to lower your chance of infection, such as:

  • Washing their hands
  • Wearing gloves or masks
  • Keeping your incisions covered

You can also lower your chance of infection by:

  • Washing your hands often and reminding visitors and staff to do the same
  • Reminding staff to wear gloves or masks
  • Not letting others touch your incisions
At Home

It will take a few weeks for the incision(s) to heal. Physical activity and sex will need to be limited during recovery. You may need to ask for help with daily activities.

Call Your Doctor

Call the doctor if you are not getting better or you have:

  • Signs of infection, such as fever and chills
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Redness, swelling, excessive bleeding, or discharge from the incision(s)
  • Problems passing urine
  • Pain that you cannot control with medicine
  • Pain or swelling in the legs

If you think you have an emergency, call for medical help right away.

RESOURCES

Reproductive Facts—American Society for Reproductive Medicine  http://www.reproductivefacts.org 

Urology Care Foundation  http://www.urologyhealth.org 

CANADIAN RESOURCES

Health Canada  https//www.canada.ca 

Men's Health Centre  http://www.menshealthcentre.net 

References

Laparoscopic varicocelectomy. Saint Luke’s website. Available at: https://www.saintlukeskc.org/health-library/laparoscopic-varicocelectomy. Accessed June 5, 2020.

Masson P, Brannigan RE. The varicocele. Urol Clin North Am. 2014 Feb;41(1):129-144.

Microsurgical varicocelectomy. UCLA Health website. Available at: https://www.uclahealth.org/urology/mens-clinic/microsurgical-varicocelectomy. Accessed June 5, 2020.

Varicocele. University of Utah Health website. Available at: https://healthcare.utah.edu/fertility/conditions/varicocele.php. Accessed June 5, 2020.

Varicocele in adults. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at:  https://www.dynamed.com/condition/varicocele-in-adults  . Updated January 29, 2016. Accessed June 5, 2020.

Revision Information