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CardioVascular and Interventional Radiology

, Volume 23, Issue 6, pp 457–459 | Cite as

Endovascular Embolization of Varicoceles: Resorption of Tungsten Coils in the Spermatic Vein

  • James Barrett
  • Irving Wells
  • Richard Riordan
  • Carl Roobottom
Clinical Investigation

Abstract

Purpose: To investigate whether resorption of tungsten coils occurs in patients with varicoceles treated by endovascular embolization of the spermatic vein.

Methods: Patients who had previously had varicocele embolization were requested by letter to attend the radiology department. Blood levels of tungsten were compared with a group of controls. Fluoroscopic images of the coils were taken and compared with those obtained during the original procedures.

Results: Nineteen patients attended, whose procedure had been done 19–57 months previously (mean 40 months). Blood levels of tungsten were raised in 18 patients compared with the controls. Radiographic evidence of loss of substance of the coils was seen in four patients.

Conclusion: Tungsten coil resorption occurs in varicocele embolization. In view of the unknown long-term effects of raised blood tungsten levels and the availability of alternative embolization agents, we feel that it is unwise to persist in the use of tungsten coils in this application.

Key words: Varicocele—Vein, spermatic—Therapeutic blockage—Interventional procedure, complication—Tungsten 

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag New York Inc. 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • James Barrett
    • 1
  • Irving Wells
    • 1
  • Richard Riordan
    • 1
  • Carl Roobottom
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Radiology, Derriford Hospital, Plymouth, Devon PL6 8DHUK

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