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Minimally Invasive Treatment Improves Male Fertility
Date:7/22/2008

ut sometimes a varicocele can cause pain, shrinkage or fertility problems.

The traditional treatment for problematic varicoceles has been open surgery, but recently varicocele embolization has emerged as a minimally invasive outpatient alternative. In the procedure, an interventional radiologist inserts a small catheter through a nick in the skin at the groin and uses
x-ray guidance to steer it into the varicocele. A tiny platinum coil and a few milliliters of an agent to ensure the occlusion of the gonadic vein are then inserted through the catheter. Recovery time is minimal, and patients typically can return to work the next day.

Dr. Flacke and colleagues set out to identify predictors of pregnancy after embolization of varicoceles in infertile men. The study included 223 infertile men, ages 18-50, with at least one varicocele. All of the men had healthy partners with whom they were trying to achieve a pregnancy.

In the study, 226 of the patients’ 228 varicoceles were successfully treated with embolization. A semen analysis performed on 173 patients three months after the procedure showed that, on average, sperm motility and sperm count had significantly improved. Six months later, 45 couples, or 26 percent, reported a pregnancy. A high level of sperm motility before the procedure was identified as the only significant pre-treatment factor associated with increasing the odds of successful post-treatment pregnancy.

“Embolization of varicoceles in infertile men may be considered a useful adjunct to in-vitro fertilization,” Dr. Flacke said.

AT A GLANCE

  • Embolization of testicular varicose veins in infertile men with healthy partners resulted in pregnancies among 26 percent of the couples within six months after treatment.
  • Varicoceles affect 10 percent to 15 percent o
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Source: PRWeb
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