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A varicocele is an enlarged, swollen vein in the scrotum (the loose sack of skin that holds the testes).
They don’t always cause any symptoms or require treatment but they can sometimes cause pain and discomfort, which may get worse with things like exercise, plus noticeable swelling of the area. They can also affect a man’s sperm, possibly causing low sperm production and reduced sperm quality. More severe cases may lead to infertility, but this is rare.
It’s important to remember that any swelling, lumps or pain in the testicles should be checked out by a doctor, sooner rather than later. Chances are it’s nothing to worry about, but these can also be symptoms of something more serious, like cancer, which is generally very treatable if detected early.
If you’ve been diagnosed with a varicocele or varicoceles, our vascular specialists are highly experienced in varicocele repair surgery, using the latest minimally invasive and laparoscopic (keyhole) techniques where possible, meaning very minimal scarring and recovery times.
Whether you need a general anaesthetic and to stay in hospital overnight, will depend on the exact procedure you have. But most people will need to rest at home for at least a few days afterwards before returning to work, and you should be able to gradually resume all regular daily activities within two weeks.
Your consultant will advise on how long you’ll need to wait before attempting sexual intercourse, as doing so too soon may affect the healing process. Also, if your varicocele was affecting your sperm count/quality, it can take several months for improvements to be seen – this is normal as it takes a few months for new sperm to be produced.