New Microsurgical Treatment for Varicocele May Prevent Infertility in Adulthood

Oct 1, 1998


A new microsurgical procedure to repair varicocele in adolescent boys may prevent infertility in adulthood.

Varicocele (varicose veins in the scrotum) are present in approximately 15 percent of post-pubescent boys, and are the most common cause of infertility in adult men.

Developed by Dr. Marc Goldstein, Professor of Urology at the Weill Medical College of Cornell University and Director of the Center for Male Reproductive Medicine at New York Weill Cornell Center of New York Presbyterian Hospital, this procedure employs a powerful operating microscope that provides 10.25 power magnification to the tiny 1 millimeter testicular artery. This technique has been successfully applied to over 2,000 adult men with varicocele-induced infertility.

"This meticulous dissection allows surgeons to preserve the arterial blood supply and safely repair the varicocele with limited risk of recurrence or injury," said Dr. Goldstein.

To date, 42 varicocelectomies have been successfully performed on adolescent boys with no recurrences of varicocele or testicular complications following surgery. All of these patients had testicles that were smaller and softer than normal due to the presence of the varicocele. However, 89 percent of them demonstrated a reversal of growth and developed normal size testicles after surgery. These results were reported in the July issue of the Journal of Urology.

"The majority of my young patients have experienced rapid 'catch up' growth of their abnormal testes after the varicocelectomy,” said Dr. Goldstein. "It is important to note that this technique may not only prevent future infertility, but it is far more cost effective to treat patients for varicocele as adolescents than to treat them for infertility as adults."

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