What is a Varicocele Embolization?
Your healthcare provider has requested that you undergo a varicocele embolization. Your symptoms or findings indicate that there is an area in your scrotum that has an enlarged vein. A varicocele embolization is an attempt to divert blood flow away from the enlarged vein. Reasons to perform this procedure include pain, swelling, and infertility.
How Should I Prepare?
You should not eat or drink anything for six hours prior to your procedure. You may take your medications as directed. Speak to your doctor if you need to adjust your insulin dosing. Prior to your procedure, you should make sure all medications and allergies are updated. If you are on a blood thinner you may be requested to stop that medication for a period of time. You will want to arrange a ride home with a responsible party afterwards should you require sedation.
How is the Procedure Performed?
The procedure will be performed by an interventional radiologist, who is a physician with specific training in image-guided procedures. The procedure will be performed under fluoroscopy (x-ray). Intravenous medications may be given to make you more comfortable and relaxed. This is called conscious sedation.
Either the neck or groin will be cleaned with a sterilizing solution, and numbing medicine will be injected into the skin. A small tube (catheter) in inserted into a vein and moved through the body towards the abnormal scrotal veins. X-ray dye is injected so that the problem area can be visualized. Small metal coils or other material are inserted to block the abnormal blood vessel and divert blood flow away from the swollen veins. At the end of the procedure, the catheter is removed and pressure is applied to stop any bleeding. The metal coils stay in place for life. The procedure usually takes about one hour.
What should I expect after the procedure?
Following the procedure, you will be monitored for a period of time for any complications. Almost all patients go home the same day. You may return to normal activities in 24 hours.