Varicocele is the most common cause of male infertility. In fact, a varicocele can be found in about 40% of males with fertility problems and can have a profound effect on several aspects of the semen analysis and testosterone levels. It is also the most surgically correctable condition that causes male infertility.
What is a Varicocele?
The veins that drain the testicle are known as the pampiniform plexus. They are responsible for the drainage of blood from the testicles. These veins can sometimes become enlarged much like varicose veins in the leg. In fact, a scrotal varicocele is simply a varicose enlargement of the testicular veins around the testicle.
Several theories have been proposed to explain the harmful effect of the varicocele on sperm quality. These include possible effects of pressure, oxygen deprivation, heat injury, free radicals and toxins. In addition, varicoceles may be a cause of progressive damage to the testicles, resulting in shrinkage or decreased testosterone levels.
Dr. Gittens’ Surgical Approach to the Varicocele
Dr. Gittens surgical approach is directed at getting the best results possible. Dr. Gittens uses an operating microscopic when performing the varicocele surgery. By using the operating microscopic he can ensure precise identification of all veins, and the testicular arteries (bring blood to the testicle) leading to improved results and less likelihood of complications. This approach has the highest rates of success and the lowest rate of complications.
Varicocele Surgery Success Rate
Improvement in semen quality occurs in about 75% of patients who undergo a microscopic varicocelectomy with Dr. Gittens. The average pregnancy occurs nine months following surgery. The first semen analysis is obtained in four months, but changes may not be seen until later. Therefore, when a varicocele is present in the infertile male who demonstrates abnormalities of semen analysis, surgical correction should be strongly considered early on in the decision making process in order to expedite pregnancy.