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Indexed/Abstracted in: CAB, EMBASE, PubMed/MEDLINE, Science Citation Index Expanded (SciSearch), Scopus
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Cimador M., Castagnetti M., Ajovalasit V., Libri M., Bertozzi M., De Grazia E.
Aim. Surgeons of varicocele are at present still searching for a gold standard technique, which can correct varicocele without any recurrences, maintaining optimal testicular function, having got minimal current and future morbidity and being cost effective. We evaluated the presence of these criteria in the technique of sub-inguinal dilated vein interruption.
Methods. Between 1994 and 2001, 142 youngsters and adolescents underwent surgery for varicocele repair at our hospital. Average patient age was 12.4 years (range 8 to 15). One-hundred-six cases (74.7%) were grade III varicocele, while 36 (25.5 ) were grade II. Grade II varicoceles underwent surgery only if associated with scrotal discomfort, testicular softness or hypotrophy of the affected testis (differential volume between the 2 testicles more than 20% or more than 2 ml ). Varicoceles were repaired using a subinguinal ligation of intrafunicular and extrafunicolar dilated veins. The testicular vaginalis was not touched in 46 children (Group A) but it was reversed in 42 and resected in the other 54 cases to prevent postoperative hydrocele.
Results. In 126 cases (88.7%) varicocele disappeared after surgery, in 12 (8.4%) a mild residual vein dilatation persisted but without any sign of reflux at color-Doppler ultrasound, in 4 patients a postoperative venous reflux was found. Thus, our recurrence rate is nowadays 2.8%. Average postoperative follow-up was 2.3 years (range 1 to 5 years). No testicular atrophy was observed. Based on our last series, at 1 year follow-up control (26 cases throughout year 2000), mean testicular volume, assessed by ultrasound, increased not significantly after surgery from ml 4.69 (SD±1.46) preoperative volume to ml 5.19 (SD±1.36) postoperative (p=0.2).
Conclusion. First of all, we found a recurrence rate of 2.9% similar to the lowest of the other procedures. Regarding morbidity, the main inconvenience consists in postoperative hydrocele. It occurred in 13% of our 1st series (group A), but only in 4.1% of patients after reversion or resection of the vaginalis tunica. Average postoperative testicular volume increases after varicocelectomy in our patients, even if not significantly. About sparing the testicular artery or not it has been demonstrated that ligation of this artery doesn't impair testicular growth up and our own observations confirm this evidence. Thus we believe it to be more useful and safe to interrupt this artery to avoid recurrences due to a periarterial venous network. Finally we can conclude that sub-inguinal ligature of dilated veins, when approached with rigorous understanding of the pathophysiology of varicocele is a very safe procedure and low cost effectiveness.
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