What is a Varicocelectomy?

Infertility is an incredibly difficult and frustrating problem for scores of people in the United States — for example, 15% of couples who have unprotected sex for a year are unable to conceive. What makes the problem so complex is that the issue may lie in the man, in the woman, in both, or for reasons unknown.

At Arizona Urology, our team of highly experienced providers understands the many issues that can lead to infertility, on both sides of the gender fence. When it comes to male infertility, the problem typically stems from a lack of sperm, and there’s some evidence that points toward the role of varicoceles in hampering sperm production.

In the following, we review how varicoceles may affect your fertility and how we can remedy the problem with a varicocelectomy.

Varicoceles and fertility

Before we get into the possible link between male infertility and varicoceles, let’s take a closer look at this medical issue. A varicocele is an enlarged vein in your scrotum, a condition that affects 15% of adult men. The bulge occurs when your blood pools, which is problematic because the veins in your scrotum play a crucial role in cooling your blood before it’s delivered to your testes, where you produce sperm.

This lack of good circulation may have an effect on your fertility because the conditions in your testes are, quite literally, too hot for optimal sperm production. While there’s not enough data to conclusively confirm a link between a varicocele and infertility, the fact is that a varicocele is present in 40% of men who are also experiencing fertility issues.

Rest assured, when you meet with our specialists, we review every area of your health to identify the underlying cause of your infertility. If we find that you have a varicocele, and less-than-optimal sperm production, a good first step is to have us eliminate the problematic vein.

The varicocelectomy

A varicocelectomy is a procedure in which we remove the bulging vein.

The good news is that a varicocelectomy is a fairly simple procedure that we perform on an outpatient basis. The surgery typically takes us less than an hour, during which time our surgeons use the most advanced laparoscopic techniques available to tie off your varicocele(s), forcing your blood to reroute to healthier blood vessels. In doing this, our goal is to improve the circulation to your reproductive organs.

After your surgery, we send you home with complete aftercare instructions and you should plan on taking it easy for a day or two before getting back to your normal activities. By normal activities, we mean things like work, but not working out at the gym or having sex. In most cases, you need to wait a few weeks before engaging in more strenuous activities to allow time for your blood vessels to heal and restore circulation.

If you’d like to explore whether you may benefit from a varicocelectomy, please contact one of our four Arizona locations in Goodyear, Glendale, Gilbert, or Phoenix, to set up a consultation.

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