Varicocele Embolisation is a minimally invasive procedure wherein the abnormal veins in the scrotum are blocked.
A varicocele is an abnormality in the veins that take blood away from the testicle. Due to the abnormality in the veins, the veins swell and become more obvious, like varicose veins. A varicocele may cause discomfort in the scrotum.
Your doctor will firstly tell you to lie on the X-Ray table, usually flat on your back. Your doctor will then insert a needle into a vein in your arm to sedate you so that you will experience less pain.
A monitoring device will be attached to your chest and finger to keep a track of your heart-rate and other vital signs. You will be provided oxygen through small tubes that enter your nose. The skin near the point of incision will be shaved and sterilized and the rest of your body will be covered with theatre towel. Your physician will then numb the area, usually the groin, (occasionally it can be neck) with a local anesthetic.
A small incision is made on the area. With the help of image guidance, a thin, long, plastic tube is inserted. This tube is called catheter. It is inserted through your skin into the femoral vein which is a large blood vessel in the groin, and it is moved to the treatment site.
Thereafter, small amounts of X-Ray dye are injected. This gives your doctor a complete picture about your veins and the doctor gets to know which veins should he embolize or block.
Finally, tiny coils made of stainless steel are injected in the veins. When this is done, the coils help in preventing the blood flow in the veins. Now, when the blood flow is prevented, backflow in the testicle is stopped and the blood gets diverted to healthy veins to exit the testicle to normal pathways. Hence swelling and pressure within the testicle will reduce.
After the procedure, the catheter will be removed and pressure will be applied to stop bleeding. The opening in the skin is covered with dressing. The procedure will be completed within 1 hour.
There are many benefits of Varicocele Embolisation:
- As with many other invasive surgical techniques, the success rate for Varicocele Embolisation is 90%.
- The recovery time is short.
There are various risks are related to Varicocele Embolisation:
- There might be damage to the blood vessel, bruising or bleeding at the place where the catheter is inserted.
- The embolic agent might accumulate in a wrong place which might block the oxygen supply in that place.