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