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Men’s health centre

Injections

BMJ Group Medical Reference

An injection that seals off the swollen veins in your testicle can get rid of a varicocele. This treatment is sometimes called sclerotherapy. But we don't know if this can help you to have children.

You'll be given the injection in hospital. You'll probably go home the same day.

Before the operation you may be asked to:

  • Not eat anything for a few hours

  • Shave part of your groin.

You'll probably be asked to lie on your back for the operation. Then you'll be given a local anaesthetic to numb your groin, so you'll be awake during the operation. If you're uncomfortable at any time, talk to the doctor or nurse. They'll be able to give you painkillers.

Having an injection is a smaller operation than tying off the swollen veins. But it's similar to the operation to block the veins. So no cuts are made on your body. Instead, your doctor will first put a needle into the large vein in your groin. Then they will pass a fine tube through this needle. The tube is passed along to the swollen veins in your testicle. The doctor can check the position of the tube with an x-ray machine. [17]

Once the tube is in the right place, the doctor blocks the vein by injecting a chemical. (Alcohol is sometimes used for this.) The chemical damages the veins and makes them collapse inwards. A scar forms inside the vein and blocks it off.

After your operation, other veins in your testicle will take over from those that have been blocked. So the blood flow in your testicle should be normal afterwards.

We found only one small study that looked at injections to seal off swollen veins. [19]

  • The partners of about 16 in 100 men who had the injections became pregnant within 12 months.

  • The partners of about 18 in 100 men who had no treatment became pregnant within 12 months.

But the researchers couldn't collect all the results because they lost touch with about half of the men. So we're not certain if this treatment will help you.

We didn't find any research that looked at whether injections can help the pain or discomfort caused by a varicocele.

The research we found didn't mention if there were any side effects of having an injection to block off swollen veins.

Glossary

local anaesthetic

A local anaesthetic is a painkiller that's used to numb one part of your body. You usually get local anaesthetics as injections.

veins

Veins are blood vessels that carry blood back to your heart after your blood has delivered oxygen and food to the tissues.

X-ray

X-rays are pictures taken of the inside of your body. They are made by passing small amounts of radiation through your body and then onto film.

For more terms related to Varicocele

Citations

For references related to Varicocele click here.
Last Updated: June 14, 2013
This information does not replace medical advice.  If you are concerned you might have a medical problem please ask your Boots pharmacy team in your local Boots store, or see your doctor.

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