40% of couples who have struggled to conceive following one year of trying can attribute their troubles to the man having a varicocele. Varicoceles affect approximately 15% of the male population and is the number 1 leading cause of male infertility. In some cases it can be painful. But for the most part, the most concerning aspect is that it prevents men from having children. To counter this, men will usually get a microsurgical varicocelectomy. If you or someone you know is considering undergoing this procedure, here are a few things you may want to know going into it.
There is more than one type of varicocele surgery.
Depending on which technique you and your physician decide to use, the rate of success may vary. The open varicocelectomy is a minimally invasive operation in the groinal region. The physician will enter the area where the man’s blood vessels are dilated. From there, the physician will separate the affected blood vessels, which in turn will lower the temperature of the testicles, effectively allowing the sperm to develop.
Microsurgical varicocelectomy resembles the open varicocelectomy. The principal difference being that the microsurgical approach is more technical, allowing for a higher success rate. In a microsurgical varicocelectomy, the physician utilizes a special microscope, that allows him to more effectively figure which blood vessels are causing the swelling. This surgery can take slightly longer, but it is more effective and also an outpatient procedure.
Physicians usually use local anesthesia.
Open and microsurgical varicocelectomies are minimally invasive. However, it is important recognize that they still qualify as surgical procedures. That means that the patient will have to receive an anesthetic. The good news is that this can be done by merely receiving an injection in his spine in order to reduce the pain. The physician does not need to make the patient unconscious for this procedure. However, there is a more technical form of varicocelectomy that is less common called a laparoscopic varicocelectomy that is a bit more invasive and does necessitate the use of general anesthesia. If you’d like to learn more about this, you’ll have to speak to your urologist.
Recovery time can take up to a month.
You will not be bed bound for the entirety of the month following the procedure. As far as regaining basic mobility, you could be back at work and walking around within one week’s time. For the first week, it’s generally good to avoid any heavy lifting or physical strain on the body. This time you should reserve for recovery and recovery alone. After that, you can expect the effects of the surgery to reveal themselves three weeks to a month afterward. That’s how long it takes for your body to adjust to the fact that it now is of a normal temperature to produce sperm.
Between 25% and 45% of couples successfully get pregnant after their first round of surgery. Bear in mind that sometimes the varicocele can return, in which case, if the couple wishes to continue having children, the man will probably have to undergo the surgery again. Speak to your doctor about the risk factors involved in this procedure.
Dr. Harry Fisch is a New York City based vasectomy, vasectomy reversal, and varicocelectomy doctor. To learn more about his services, give his office a call at 212-879-0800.