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REVIEW  HOT TOPICS IN MALE INFERTILITY 

Panminerva Medica 2019 June;61(2):152-63

DOI: 10.23736/S0031-0808.18.03528-0

Copyright © 2018 EDIZIONI MINERVA MEDICA

language: English

Indications and outcomes of varicocele repair

Chak-Lam CHO 1, Sandro C. ESTEVES 2, Ashok AGARWAL 3

1 Department of Surgery, Union Hospital, Hong Kong, China; 2 Andrology and Human Reproduction Clinic ANDROFERT, Referral Center for Male Reproduction, Campinas, Brazil; 3 American Center for Reproductive Medicine, Department of Urology, Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, OH, USA



Varicoceles exert deleterious effect on testicular function. The condition has been associated with male infertility, testicular hypotrophy and pain. These comprises the common indications for varicocele repair currently. Significant improvement in semen parameters and pregnancy outcomes had been suggested by reports decades ago. However, selection of the best candidates remains an issue since not all patients respond positively to treatment. Consensus has been reached in recent decade after the publication of a series of meta-analyses. Significant improvement in pregnancy outcomes were reported in patients with clinical varicocele and abnormal semen parameters. Varicocelectomy in adolescents with testicular hypotrophy was supported by the positive implication on catch-up growth and semen parameters. However, little is known about the treatment effect of adolescence varicocelectomy on long term fertility and paternity rate. Recent studies on outcome of varicocele repair for pain consistently demonstrated a resolution rate of approximately 90% and support varicocele-associated pain as an indication for surgery. Alternate indications for varicocele repair have been proposed in recent decade. Despite the encouraging preliminary data, most studies were uncontrolled retrospective series. Although varicocelectomy may not obviate the need for assisted reproductive techniques in patients with non-obstructive azoospermia, it potentially increases sperm retrieval rate. The significant increase in serum testosterone after varicocelectomy in patients with androgen deficiency may open an alternative treatment for hypogonadism. The adjunctive role of varicocelectomy before assisted reproduction and the significant decrease in sperm DNA fragmentation after varicocele repair deserve further well-designed controlled studies.


KEY WORDS: Varicocele - Treatment outcome - Vascular surgical procedures - Reproduction - Male infertility

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