Effects of Varicocele Treatment on Sperm Conventional Parameters: Surgical Varicocelectomy Versus Sclerotherapy
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Varicocele is often associated with impaired sperm parameters. Different procedures have been developed for varicocele treatment. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effects of varicocele treatment on conventional sperm parameters.
Materials and Methods
We compared two different techniques of intervention: surgical varicocelectomy and sclerotherapy. We also evaluated the number of varicocele recurrences and the pregnancy rate. We included 102 patients (mean age 29.8 ± 0.8 years) with ultrasound diagnosis of varicocele. We excluded patients whose ultrasound evaluation and/or sperm parameters were not known before and after varicocele correction. We divided the patients (excluding 8 with azoospermia) into two subgroups: surgical varicocelectomy (n = 44) and sclerotherapy (n = 50). For each patient, we compared conventional sperm parameters before and after varicocele correction.
After varicocele correction, we found a significant improvement in sperm concentration, total count and total motility. Considering the two subgroups, baseline sperm parameters did not differ significantly. Sperm concentration and total count increased significantly after varicocele correction by varicocelectomy. Varicocele correction by sclerotherapy resulted in a significant increase in sperm concentration, progressive and total motility. We found varicocele recurrence in 32% of patients who underwent varicocelectomy and in 19.7% of patients undergoing sclerotherapy. The pregnancy rate was higher after sclerotherapy (28%) than after surgical varicocelectomy (13%).
Varicocele treatment must be recommended when other causes of infertility have been treated. Our results suggest the use of sclerotherapy for varicocele repair.
Level of Evidence
KeywordsVaricocele Conventional sperm parameters Surgical varicocelectomy Sclerotherapy
LMM and LM are the principal investigators. MC, RAC, AB, AA, SLV, GM and GIR have contributed in methodological and statistical aspects. AEC is the coordinator of the study.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that there is no conflict of interest that could be perceived as prejudicing the impartiality of the research reported.
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