Varicocele Embolisation

What is a Varicocele?

A varicocele is a collection of enlarged (dilated) veins in the scrotum – similar to varicose veins that occur in the legs.

Where do they occur? Are varicocele painful?

It occurs next to and above one or both testicles.  A varicocele often produces no signs or symptoms and is rarely painful.  With time, varicoceles may enlarge and become more noticeable.

What treatment is available for varicoceles?

An embolisation is a procedure performed to eliminate blood flow to the abnormal veins (varicies) and redirect blood flow to normal veins.

Who performs a varicocele embolisation?

A specialist known as an Interventional Radiologist often performs this procedure. Dr John Vrazas performs varicocele embolisation at Melbourne Institute of Vascular and Interventional Radiology (MIVIR).

What does a varicocele embolisation procedure involve?

It involves the injection of contrast (x-ray dye) to visualise both the normal and abnormal veins of the testes. The contrast is injected through a thin plastic tube called a catheter, which is passed through a sheath inserted into the femoral vein.

Why would I need this procedure?

Your Doctor may ask for this procedure to be performed because you may experience some or all of the following:

  • Increase size with standing or physical exertion
  • In young men, the presence of a varicocele impairs sperm production and can often be improved with treatment.
  • Very rarely pain.

What is the anticipated recovery time for a varicocele embolisation?

We recommend the following;

  • Rest quietly for the following 24-48 hours.
  • No strenuous activity for the following 24-48 hours.
  • Avoid activities where repetitive bending is required.
  • If you notice any swelling, bruising or pain at the injection site that continues to increase, call an ambulance or present to your nearest Emergency Department.

Is there a fact sheet about the varicocele embolisation and what to expect?

Yes! Find our varicocele embolisation fact sheet here.

Author: Dr John Vrazas

Diagram of where a varicocele can form

Varicocele Embolisation diagram