Understanding and Treating Varicocele Using the Most Effective Methods
Conditions that adversely affect fertility are never easy to deal with. Varicocele is a disease involving the enlargement of the veins present in the scrotum, which usually affects the left side. It is prevalent, as more than 15% of men have it.
If you experience sharp discomfort or a sharp pain in your left testicle, or you have discomfort or pain that gets worse as the day progresses, as you stand up or as you perform various physically demanding activities, you might be suffering from varicocele.
The disease is also a common cause of low sperm production or decreased sperm quality. As a result, it can greatly impact fertility. Additionally, primary infertility can make the risk of developing varicocele almost three times higher. In developing individuals, varicoceles can also lead to the failed development or shrinkage of the testicles.
Typically, the treatment of varicocele can be done through a venogram and an additional intervention such as a Gonadal Vein Embolization. At MIVA Medical, we employ this treatment because it is a minimal risk and minimally invasive method that has a remarkably high (over 90%) rate of success. Even the other 10% can still experience some level of relief, though additional treatments might be needed.
Compared to the treatments used by urologists – which are better known in the mainstream – the use of a venogram and Gonadal Vein Embolization is considered much safer and more effective, although no significant difference in success rates was observed.
The Steps for Using a Venogram with Intervention
Venograms are highly effective methods for creating images and maps that accurately depict the flow of blood through veins and arteries. Aside from varicocele, venograms can also be used in the case of acute and chronic DVT, Pelvic Congestion Syndrome, SVC Syndrome, and May-Thurner Syndrome.
A venogram is a minimally invasive procedure through which the vein system is mapped, in order for a wire to be extended into the correct path to the affected area. Venograms use a special dye that can be detected with the help of X-ray technology. That way the integrity and exact placement of the veins can be tracked, so that the right path can be found. The wire is then extended using a specialized needle with a hollow core.
Depending on the type of procedure you need, you may opt for one of four special treatments that are provided at our MIVA Medical facility.
Angioplasty is a method that uses specialized balloons advanced over the wire and then inflated to support the walls of the vein.
Embolization is a common technique for dealing with varicocele. It involves the use of plugs or coils to shut down veins that are no longer functional.
Stent placement allows for the placement of tubular metal scaffolds which open the vein if it cannot remain open without help.
Thrombolysis is used when clots are involved, and can dissolve the clots to allow for a freer flow of blood through the affected veins. This is usually done through a specialized catheter placed inside the clot itself and may involve a 24-hour ICU stay.
The internal evaluation of the veins may also be required during the use of any of these procedures. For that purpose, MIVA Medical uses intravascular ultrasound (IVUS) to achieve accurate readings.
All of these interventions may be performed as outpatient procedures at our MIVA Medical facility. We ensure everything from diagnosis and venograms to the complete medical procedures required, including anesthesia (through mild or moderate sedation). Although these treatments are only minimally invasive, you may want to avoid any heavy lifting for a period of about 5 days after they are completed. Blood thinners may also be needed on some occasions.
What illnesses can a venogram help with?
The list is lengthy, but the following are some of the more typical diseases treated:
- Pelvic Congestion Syndrome
- Acute and Chronic DVT
- Superior Vena Cava (SVC) Syndrome
- May-Thurner Syndrome