Varicocele Embolization

What is it?

A varicoceles is an abnormal enlargement of veins inside the scrotum. A varicocele embolization is a minimally invasive, image-guided procedure utilizing a catheter to put a small coil or fluid in a blood vessel so that blood flow is diverted away from a varicocele. The varicocele becomes smaller when it does not have a blood supply flowing to it.

What is it for?

The procedure is done if you have pain, if the veins are unsightly or if you and your partner are having problems conceiving a baby.

How to prepare

  • Discuss your medical history with your doctor
  • Make sure your doctor is aware of medications you are taking and any allergies you have


  • Accumulation of fluid around the testicle
  • Blood clot
  • Infection
  • Injury to scrotum, groin or abdomen

What happens during?

  • The procedure should take about one hour
  • You may be put under anesthesia or receive a sedative intravenously
  • A small incision is made in the lower abdomen. Using imaging technology, a catheter, a long, thin, hollow plastic tube, is placed in the skin in the groin and moved to the treatment area. X-rays with contrast material are used to exactly identify the enlarged veins.
  • The surgeon finds the veins needing treatment
  • A catheter is used to put a small coil or fluid in a blood vessel so that blood flow is diverted away from a varicocele
  • The catheter is taken out and the incision is closed

What happens after?

  • Plan to rest for two to three days at home
  • You may feel some pain in the testicle for a few days
  • Testicle swelling is normal. Use ice for the swelling no more than 20 minutes at a time.

Side effects

  • Black and blue discoloration, bleeding or foul-smelling discharge near the incision
  • Pain in the scrotum that does not go away
  • Swelling in the scrotum
  • A fever higher than 100.4°F

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