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Thursday, October 25, 2007

Varicoceles on ultrasound

Varicoceles can cause male infertility.

This is a right side varicocele. It was palpable and quite large on exam. Varicoceles are more common on the left side only, but can occur on both sides. Varicoceles on the right side only are very rare. Occasionally, varicoceles can recur after a varicocelectomy--the surgery to fix varicoceles. They may recur due to the presence of gubernacular veins, or veins that run in a structure just under the testicle.

This patient had a large left varicocele. The color images reflect blood flowing through the veins. I use a doppler ultrasound unit in my office to detect the blood flow.
Correcting varicoceles can improve a couple's chance to achieve pregancy, either naturally or with the aid of assisted reproductive techniques.
Varicocelectomy is a safe, outpatient procedure that has minimal side-effects. Varicocelectomy results are best when the surgeon uses a high power operating microscope and a doppler probe. Both of those tools allow the surgeon to detect all the veins that need ligating and the testicular artery and lymphatic channels that ought to be spared.
Thanks,
The IU.