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Varicocele Embolization

Varicocele embolization is a minimally invasive procedure to reduce the size of enlarged veins within the scrotum. A varicocele, like varicose veins, occurs when weakened veins within the scrotum expand with blood. They are often unnoticed and don’t require treatment, but when these veins cause pain, swelling and infertility, embolization is the best solution.

Using imaging technology, your interventional radiologist will guide a small tube (catheter) through the femoral vein in the groin. Using contrast dye, the enlarged vein will be located, and the catheter will release embolic agents, closing off the vessels from additional blood flow and reducing the size of the vein. This will alleviate the pain and swelling, and begin restoring the quality of sperm within the scrotum.

How to Prepare for Varicocele Embolization

  • Prepare to show up a few hours before the procedure to have labs drawn.
  • Patients taking blood thinners will be advised to stop taking them a week before the procedure.
  • Your interventional radiologist may also request additional imaging of the enlarged veins.
  • Please inform your physician of any allergies or medication you are taking.

What to Expect

  • This procedure will take one hour.
  • You will be heavily sedated, but conscious (twilight sedation) during the procedure. This will be administrated through an intravenous line in the arm.
  • The area of the incision near the groin will be numbed, so you will not experience any pain. You may feel slight pressure when the catheter is first inserted.
  • The catheter, and under the guidance of imaging technology, is fed through the femoral vein, release embolic agents into the weakened blood vessels, which will close them off from additional blood.
  • Blood flow will return to your healthy veins, reducing any swelling or pain.

What to Expect after Varicocele Embolization

  • Our minimally invasive approach speeds up the recovery time, requiring only a few hours of rest before you can leave the hospital.
  • You will be able to resume activities as normal just 24 hours after embolization is complete.

For More Information

For more information on varicocele embolization, or to schedule an appointment with an interventional radiologist, please call 847.570.2160.