If you have been diagnosed with varicocele, but have never heard of it before then you may have questions running in your mind like what is varicocele. How does it occur? How it can be treated and so on. This article will provide you the answer to all your questions.
What is varicocele?
Varicocele is a condition which typically affects men. It occurs when the veins in the scrotum get enlarged due to blood getting pooled. This happens when the valves in the veins are not functioning appropriately. As a result of which the blood in the veins flows in the opposite direction causing blood to pool.
There are no specific signs/symptoms that varicocele will produce. Some of the signs maybe discomfort, occasional pain, swelling and so on. In most of the cases varicocele will not require any treatment unless you have fertility issues or notice serious symptoms. The treatment options include surgical therapy, medical therapy (though into research stage as of now) and varicocele embolization.
Surgery is not often preferred by many as the recovery time is up to 2 weeks. So if you are on favor of varicocele natural treatment you may want to explore grocare. In this article we shall talk about Varicocele embolization (non-surgical treatment) and its benefits.
What is Varicocele Embolization?
Under this method of treatment which is non-surgical, the dysfunctional veins which cause blood pool are closed off permanently. This allows the normal veins to take over the blood flow. This method has various benefits which we will discuss at a later point in the article. For now, let us gather some more knowledge about the process of embolization.
Embolization involves image-guided procedure, in which the doctor uses a catheter to place small coil/embolic fluid into a blood vessel in order to divert the flow away from the varicocele. With the help of the embolization procedure, there is relief in swelling and pain and the sperm quality is also said to improve.
The procedure is very safe and has many advantages as compared to the surgical procedure. The benefits if varicocele embolization are as follows-
- No Anesthesia– Surgical procedures for varicocele treatment necessarily require the patient to go under general anesthesia. It affects the whole body as well as makes the person unconscious. This can sometimes create more complications like vomiting, sore throat, nausea and most of all it delays the return to normal mental functioning. As opposed to this treatment of varicocele without surgery can be done under local anesthesia which is quiet safe and is low on risk. When the patient is under local anesthesia, he may not feel the pain but is fully conscious and it allows patient to recover faster from its effects.
- Faster Recovery– The time taken for recovery after a surgical procedure is around 2-3 weeks. This can hamper the daily routine of the patient to a great extent. As against this, embolization takes only 1-2 days for recovery. Hence, the patient can get back to normal routines at the earliest.
- No hospitalization-If one opts for the varicocele embolization, the procedure is performed in an outpatient setting. In such a scenario, the patient can return back home on the very same day. However, in case a surgery is performed the patient is kept in the hospital overnight for monitoring the essential signs of any kind of complication.
- No Incision– While performing a varicocele surgery, the doctor makes an incision or two in the lower part of the abdomen in order to access and repair the dysfunctional veins. These incisions leave a scar and take up to 6 weeks to heal completely. One needs to carefully monitor the incision. But in case of embolization, only a small puncture is done which allows minimal to no scarring and less risk of infection.
- Less Downtime– When a surgical procedure is performed, the patient is advised to go slow with the normal physical activities. For at least up to 2-3 weeks an individual is required to refrain from various physical activities which he would otherwise undertake. Undertaking such physical activities can pose danger to the incision and hence one needs to be extra cautious. However, on the other hand, when varicocele embolization is performed there are no such restrictions. At the most patients are advised to keep low for 7-10 days. Hence, the downtime for physical activities is lesser in case of embolization.
- Lower Risk-Opting for varicocele embolization reduces the potential risk of infection and artery damage during the process of surgery. The patient is relieved of pain from incision and boosts fertility rate without the need to be hospitalized and saving the downtime.
Varicocele embolization can be performed in shorter duration as compared to the surgery and is usually less costly also. Once the procedure of embolization is complete, the patient may be observed for some time. In most cases one and return home the same day. One needs to visit the doctor regularly for some time post the procedure. In case of individuals with fertility issues, the doctor may want to conduct semen analysis in order to examine whether there is improvement in the fertility level of the patient. It may take 3-4 months for the fertility success to show up. This is because the production if new sperms takes at least 3 months.
The success rate of varicocele embolization is as high as 90% (radiologyinfo.org), which is same as that with surgical procedure.
So before, you decide to go ahead with the procedure of embolization, it is always better to acquaint yourself with the facts about the procedure and have a detailed discussion with your doctor and get all your doubts cleared. This will help you in becoming mentally prepared for the same and also assist you in recovering faster with the necessary after care.
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