Benefits vs. Risks of a Varicocele Embolization

Varicocele Embolization Benefits

  • No surgical incision is needed—only a small nick in the skin that does not have to be stitched closed.
  • The recovery time is shorter with embolization than with surgery.
  • There is a 90% success rate with embolization, which are the same results as those achieved with more invasive surgical techniques.

Varicocele Embolization Risks

  • Any procedure where the skin is penetrated carries a risk of infection. The chance of infection requiring antibiotic treatment appears to be less than one in 1,000.
  • There is a slight risk of an allergic reaction if contrast material is injected.
  • Any procedure that involves placement of a catheter inside a blood vessel carries certain risks. These risks include damage to the blood vessel, bruising or bleeding at the puncture site, and infection.
  • There is always a chance that an embolic agent can lodge in the wrong place and deprive normal tissue of its oxygen supply.
  • There is always a slight chance of cancer from exposure to radiation. However, the benefit of this treatment outweighs the risk.
  • Other possible complications include lower back pain and phlebitis.