Varicocelectomy: Understanding the Procedure and Costs
What’s a varicocelectomy?
If you’ve been diagnosed with a varicocele or if you suspect that you have one, then you’re probably wondering: what do I do now? Varicoceles (swollen veins in the scrotum) can be a concern, especially if they cause discomfort or if you’re struggling with infertility. Varicoceles can interfere with male fertility by warming your testicles, which reduces sperm quality and quantity.
In most cases, a varicocele can be treated by surgical procedure called a varicocelectomy. During the surgery, the swollen veins are cut and closed off. Other veins then take over carrying the blood supply.
What can I expect before and during a varicocelectomy?
Like most surgeries, you’ll prepare for a varicocelectomy by discussing with your doctor any medicines and supplements that you take, and you’ll be given directions about what you can eat and drink before the surgery. A varicocelectomy usually takes one to two hours and utilizes general anesthesia, so you’ll be asleep the whole time.
What happens after a varicocelectomy?
After the surgery, you’ll be given a list of instructions, including caring for the incisions, taking pain medication, applying ice to your scrotum when needed, and avoiding sex, exercise and heavy lifting for three weeks. You’ll also be given instructions on what to do in case of infection or complication, both of which are unlikely. You can usually go home the same day as the procedure, although someone else will have to drive you home. Most men return to work after at least three days of rest and light activity.
Later, you’ll have follow-up visits with your doctor to check how well you’re healing and to take a sample of your semen, if you’re trying to have children. The pregnancy success rate for men undergoing a varicocelectomy ranges from 30% to 50%, depending on the type of surgery and other factors.
What about varicocelectomy costs?
Be sure to ask your doctor about varicocelectomy cost, as it may depend on the type of procedure and your insurance coverage. If you and your partner are considering assistive reproductive approaches to address infertility, it’s a good idea to discuss all your options with your doctor and to compare the costs and benefits. In some cases, you might not need to use assistive reproductive approaches once you’ve had a varicocelectomy. A varicocelectomy might also be more cost-effective than assistive reproductive techniques, and it can lower your partner’s likelihood of having twins or other multiples.
Varicocele questions to ask your doctor
Keep in mind that every man’s situation is different. Because of this, here are some other questions you may want to ask your doctor if you’re considering a varicocelectomy:
- What results should I expect from surgery?
- What can I expect if I delay or avoid surgery?
- Have you had experience helping other men who were in similar situations to mine?
- What are the chances that I’ll get another varicocele after I have the surgery?
- Are there any non-surgical options?
- How painful is the recovery?
- How much does the surgery cost?
- Where and when will the surgery be performed?
- Who will perform the surgery?
- What are the risks associated with the surgery?
- What’s are my options if my partner and I still can’t get pregnant after the surgery?