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Surgery is the only way to treat varicoceles, but not all patients would benefit from surgery. Surgery may be recommended if:

  • The affected testicle is small
  • Fertility is or could be affected
  • Varicocele is present in both testicles
  • The sperm is not healthy (in older adolescents)
  • Pain, marked swelling, or physical discomfort is present

If none of these criteria apply, surgery is not needed. Annual visits to the doctor are needed annually until sperm can be analysed.

The surgical procedure blocks the enlarged veins from draining blood from the testicle. This blockage redirects the blood flow to healthy veins. This can be done:

  • Through a small cut in the groin with the use of a surgical microscope
  • Though multiple small cuts made with laparoscopic instruments

During surgery, the doctor will try to protect nearby structures called lymphatic vessels. These tiny structures are usually invisible to the naked eye. They carry lymph, a clear, yellowish liquid that collects in all parts of the body. If they are injured, lymph cannot flow properly, and complications can develop. This surgery, called lymphatic-sparing varicocelectomy , can lower the chance of complications.

What are the most common complications after surgery?