Varicocelectomy is a surgical procedure indicated for the treatment of infertility in men. Varicoceles are abnormal enlargements of the veins in the scrotum. It is commonly found in adolescent boys in puberty, and occurs mostly around the left testicle, but can also occur on both sides.
Varicoceles are generally harmless and don’t cause any pain. However, some boys may complain of heaviness in the scrotum, and when left untreated, the condition may cause stunted growth of the affected testes and infertility in adulthood.
The surgery is performed laparoscopically under general anaesthesia. A catheter is placed to drain urine and empty the bladder. Your doctor inserts a needle into the abdominal cavity and inflates it with carbon dioxide gas. This helps your surgeon view the surgical site more clearly. The needle is removed and 3 to 4 small incisions are made on your abdomen, through which a laparoscope (tube with a light and a small camera) and other surgical instruments are inserted. The varicocele is isolated and cut. The arteries are kept intact. The remaining veins are sutured securely and incisions are closed firmly with stitches.
Like all surgical procedures, laparoscopic varicocelectomy may be associated with certain complications, which include:
- Testicular artery injury
- Reoccurrence of varicocele
- Hydrocele (a sac filled with fluid that forms around testicles)
The advantages of laparoscopic varicocelectomy include:
- Reduced hospital stay
- Smaller incisions and less scarring
- Faster recovery
- Less post-operative pain