Outcomes of varicocele ligation done for pain.
PURPOSE: Surgical ligation is an option in the management of patients with painful varicocele. Little objective data exist addressing the effectiveness of this treatment. We reviewed records from 58 patients who underwent varicocele ligation at our institution from January 1985 to May 1996 to establish success of surgical ligation of the painful varicocele. MATERIALS AND METHODS: ICD-9 billing codes were used to identify all patients who had undergone varicocele ligation for pain since 1985. We documented patient age, grade and location of varicocele, duration and quality of pain, response to conservative therapy and surgical approach to ligation. Telephone interviews and chart reviews were conducted to determine resolution of pain, complications of the procedure and if the patient would choose surgery again. RESULTS: We obtained followup on 35 of the 58 painful varicocele patients (60%). Average patient age was 25.7 years (range 15 to 65). The varicocele was on the left side in 30 men and bilateral in 5. Of the patients 31 described the pain as a dull throbbing ache, 2 as sharp and 2 as a pulling sensation. Initial conservative therapy failed in all 35 men. Varicocele was grade III in 18 cases, grade II in 16 and grade I in 1. The inguinal or subinguinal approach was used in 24 patients, high ligation in 10 and laparoscopic repair in 1. In 30 patients there was (86%) complete resolution of pain postoperatively and 1 had partial resolution. Only 4 patients (11%) had persistent or worse symptoms. CONCLUSIONS: This retrospective review supports the conclusion that varicocele ligation is an effective treatment for painful varicocele in properly selected patients.
Peterson, AC; Lance, RS; Ruiz, HE
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