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Varicocele: surgical techniques in 2005
Department of Urology, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas, USA
Feb  2006 (Vol.  13, Issue  11, Pages( 13 - 17)


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  • Varicocele is the most common diagnosis in men presenting to fertility clinics. Traditional indications for correction of varicocele include scrotal pain, testicular atrophy, and infertility without other apparent causes. Adolescent varicocele correction is indicated if pain or testicular growth retardation is present. Following varicocelectomy most studies report improved semen parameters, increased serum testosterone, improvement in functional sperm defects, and the return of motile sperm in selected azoospermic men. However, conflicting data exists on pregnancy and fertility outcomes. Consistent data supporting the effectiveness of repairing subclinical varicoceles is sparse. Most authors generally agree that the primary effect of varicoceles is on testicular temperature. Varicoceles are diagnosed primarily by physical examination. Radiographic assessments are helpful when physical examination is inconclusive or when further objective documentation of a patient's condition is necessary. Several surgical approaches to varicocelectomy exist, each with its own advantages and drawbacks. We prefer the inguinal approach to varicocelectomy, except when there is a history of previous inguinal surgery. In such cases, the subinguinal technique is employed. Routine use of an operating microscope and a micro Doppler probe affords easier identification of vessels and lymphatics. Varicocele remains the most surgically treatable form of male infertility. Knowing the correct techniques of diagnosis and surgical correction ensures the best chance of successful outcomes in terms of post-operative morbidity, improved semen parameters, and pregnancy rates.