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Cartersville Medical Center
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mins

Varicocele -- Child

Definition

Varicocele is painless swelling of blood vessels in the scrotum. The scrotum is the pouch that contains the testes in males.

Varicocele
testicle varices
Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

Causes

Most blood normally flows out of the scrotum through a main vein. A faulty valve in this vein causes blood to back up into the scrotum and lead to varicocele.

Risk Factors

Varicoceles typically develop in males 15-25 years old.

Symptoms

You will be able to see or feel a varicocele. It is an enlarged or twisted vein in the scrotum. It may become larger when standing or straining. You may also see shrinkage of the testicles.

Diagnosis

The doctor will ask about your child’s symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. The doctor can make the diagnosis based on the physical exam.

An ultrasound may be done if complications are expected.

Treatment

Treatment is not required in all cases.

Treatment may be done to block off the faulty vein and allow blood to flow out through other veins.

  • Open surgery—The vein is surgically cut and tied off.
  • Catheter ablation—Heat is applied through a catheter to destroy the vein.
  • Catheter embolization—A substance is placed in the vein to block it.

Prevention

There are no current guidelines to prevent varicoceles.

Revision Information

  • Reviewer: Kari Kassir, MD
  • Review Date: 01/2015 -
  • Update Date: 05/05/2014 -
  • Reproductive Facts—American Society for Reproductive Medicine

    http://www.reproductivefacts.org

  • Urology Care Foundation

    http://www.urologyhealth.org

  • Health Canada

    http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca

  • The College of Family Physicians of Canada

    http://www.cfpc.ca

  • Tekgul S, Riedmiller H, et al. Varicocele in children and adolescents. Guidelines on paediatric urology. European Association of Urology. 2009;23-25.

  • Varicocele. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated May 10, 2013. Accessed June 24, 2013.

  • Varicocele. Nemours Kid's Health website. Available at: http://kidshealth.org/teen/sexual%5Fhealth/guys/varicocele.html. Accessed June 24, 2013.

  • Varicoceles. Urology Care Foundation website. Available at: http://www.urologyhealth.org/urology/index.cfm?article=116. Accessed June 24, 2013.

  • Wein A, ed. Campbell-Walsh Urology. 9th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders, Elsevier; 2007.

The health information in this Health Library is provided by a third party. Cartersville Medical Center does not in any way create the content of this information. It is provided solely for informational purposes. It does not constitute medical advice and is not intended to be a substitute for proper medical care provided by a physician. Always consult with your doctor for appropriate examinations, treatment, testing, and care recommendations. Do not rely on information on this site as a tool for self-diagnosis. If you have a medical emergency, call 911.