Varicoceles are common and occur when an abnormal network of veins develop in the scrotum around the testicle. Some men just have them on one side, but they can occur in both. While they are harmless and can have no symptoms, they can cause aching or discomfort.
In order to remove varicoceles, they can be embolised under local anaesthetic. This is a non-surgical and minimally invasive method and is permanent. It sees a small cut made in either the groin or the neck, with a small wire and tube steered into the veins to target the abnormal vein. This is done through the use of x-rays to guide the wire.
Embolisation can be carried out as a day case, even for men with varicoceles on both sides.
Where embolisation is either not appropriate or has not been successful, surgery may be required. This will involve a small incision in the groin, where the swollen veins causing the varicocele are tied or clipped. This needs to be carried out under general anaesthetic.