Enlarged veins in the testicles (varicocele) resemble varicose veins commonly found in the legs. The condition often causes no symptoms, so you may not even know you have it. But it is one of the most common causes of male infertility.

If you have been trying unsuccessfully to conceive a biological child, varicocele may be the problem. About 40 percent of men with infertility have varicocele in one or both testicles. Without treatment, varicocele can cause abnormal sperm count, shape and movement.

At the Henry Ford Men’s Health Center, our highly skilled doctors use advanced surgical procedures to successfully repair varicocele.

What causes varicocele?

If the valves in your testicular veins aren’t working properly, blood collects in the vein. As a result, the vein swells and gets bigger. Poor blood circulation in the enlarged vein increases the temperature in your testicles. Higher temperatures reduce sperm production and damage sperm already in the testicles.

How are varicocele diagnosed?

Early, accurate diagnosis is key to successful treatment. Our urologists know how to locate these enlarged veins and diagnose the condition. If your doctor suspects you may have varicocele, the first step is a physical exam. Your doctor will feel both testicles to check for any abnormalities. We also sometimes use ultrasound to see the veins more clearly and confirm the diagnosis.

Varicocele treatment

If varicoceles cause you pain or affect your fertility, we can repair the veins. Many men without symptoms choose not to treat them.

Our highly skilled surgeons use a minimally invasive, outpatient procedure called microsurgical varicocelectomy to successfully repair varicocele. We use small incisions in the groin area and repair the veins, improving blood flow to the testicles. You can go home the same day and resume most activities within a week.

This highly successful surgery improves sperm quality in about 60 percent of our patients. Your doctor will check your sperm count three months after the procedure.

If you’re concerned about infertility, consult our specialists at Henry Ford Men’s Health Center. We take a compassionate, personalized approach to your needs and use advanced techniques to achieve your goals.

See a men’s health specialist

To make an appointment with a men’s health specialist, please call (800) 436-7936


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