This is a minimally invasive procedure that is used to block the veins that drain the varicocele in the scrotum. It is performed using ultrasound and low-dose x-ray guidance, and is typically performed as a day only procedure.
A varicocele is an abnormal enlargement of veins within the scrotum. It results from poor venous drainage and reflux within the veins draining the testicle. This can cause the veins within the scrotum to swell and bulge.
Varicocele embolisation is a quick procedure that usually takes about 1 hour, and most patients are able to go home the same day and rest.
During the procedure, a small, hollow tube (catheter) is inserted into a vein in the neck or groin. The catheter is then guided to the testicular vein, which drain from the scrotum. The affected vein is then blocked with coils or liquid (sclerosant), which prevents blood from flowing back into the varicocele. This causes the varicocele to shrink and eventually disappear.
The procedure typically takes about 1 hour, and most patients are able to go home the same day. After the procedure, patients may experience some mild back pain. This can be managed with mild analgesia and usually resolves within a week.
There are two main types of treatment for varicoceles: more invasive surgical techniques and minimally invasive procedures, such as embolisation. Surgery involves cutting the veins that are causing the varicocele, while embolisation involves blocking the blood vessels with coils or other materials.
Many men who are diagnosed with a varicocele do not need treatment, as it often does not cause any symptoms. However, if you experience pain or discomfort, or if you are having trouble conceiving a child, then treatment may be an option.
Discussing your case with a GP or an interventional radiologist will help explore your treatment options. If you have recently been diagnosed with a varicocele, you can book a consultation with Dr McConnell and he will discuss your treatment options with you.
This is generally considered a safe procedure with its own benefits and risks. However, as with any medical procedure, there are some potential benefits and risks which your doctor will explain in detail during your consultation.
Here are some benefits of having a Varicocele Embolisation:
While rare, some potential complications or risks associated with varicocele embolisation include:
Recovery is usually quick. After the procedure, you will be taken back to the ward for 4 hours of bed rest and observation. You will be able to eat and drink as soon as you are awake.
Here are some post-surgery recovery tips for you:
You may experience mild discomfort in your back and abdominal area for up to 1 week after your procedure.
You should be able to resume most normal activities of daily living within 24 hours. Avoid heavy lifting or strenuous exercise for one week following this procedure.
The cost of varicocele treatment is dependent on the specific type of treatment recommended for your individual condition.
After an initial consultation, we can provide detailed costing of the treatment, and if any Medicare rebates apply.
Please contact us for more information on costs.
Dr Ryan McConnell
BMBS, FRANZCR, CCINR
Dr McConnell is an Australian-trained Endovascular Specialist and Interventional Neuroradiologist, possessing extensive experience in minimally invasive procedures.
Annually, he performs more than 500 endovascular procedures. His medical education began at Flinders University, where he earned a Bachelor of Medicine and a Bachelor of Surgery.
He completed specialty training in Radiology at Royal North Shore Hospital, followed by a Fellowship in Interventional Radiology and a two-year Fellowship in Neurointervention, for which he was awarded CCINR accreditation.
Dr McConnell holds consultant visiting medical officer positions at Northern Beaches Hospital, Royal Prince Alfred Hospital and Nepean Private Hospital. He remains actively involved in medical student/registrar teaching and research.
Our Open Hours:
8:30 am – 5 pm
Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday
Our Open Hours:
8:30 am – 5 pm
Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday
If you require more information on varicocele treatment, please read our most frequently asked questions:
In many cases, treatment for varicoceles is not necessary as they typically don’t cause symptoms. However, treatment may be recommended if fertility concerns arise or if you experience pain or discomfort. Medication is not effective in treating varicoceles, and prevention measures are not available.
Both surgery and embolisation are potential treatment options for varicoceles. It is important to consult with your doctor to determine the most appropriate treatment for your specific condition and needs.
The embolisation procedure will be performed in the hospital as a day-only procedure. Dr Ryan McConnell has private hospital appointments at Nepean Private Hospital and Northern Beaches Hospital. He also has public hospital appointments at Nepean Hospital and Royal Prince Alfred Hospital.
You will need to fast for 6 hours prior to your procedure. Take your regular medications as normal with a sip of water.
A follow-up consultation will take place after 2 weeks to assess your recovery and confirm the success of the procedure. Dr McConnell will see you in his clinic 6 weeks post-procedure.
Embolisation is nearly always successful in treating the varicocele, but it is important to note that there is a small chance of varicocele recurrence in some cases.
However, most individuals who undergo this procedure experience a permanent improvement in their symptoms and do not require further treatment.
Regular follow-up appointments with your doctor will help monitor your condition and ensure the effectiveness of the embolisation procedure.
Varicocele surgery and varicocele embolisation are two treatment options for varicoceles.
Surgery involves making an incision to ligate the affected veins, while embolisation uses a minimally invasive approach to block the veins using coils or other agents.
Surgery requires a longer recovery and may result in scarring, while embolisation has a shorter recovery time and minimal scarring. Both options have their benefits and should be discussed with your doctor to determine the most suitable treatment.