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J Urol. 2002 Oct;168(4 Pt 2):1689-91; discussion 1691.

Testicular growth arrest and adolescent varicocele: does varicocele size make a difference?

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  • 1Division of Pediatric Urology, Rainbow Babies and Children's Hospital, Department of Urology, Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, Cleveland, OH 44106, USA.

Abstract

PURPOSE:

We assessed whether testicular growth arrest is related to varicocele size in adolescents. We also determined whether adolescents with a varicocele and testes of equal size treated nonoperatively are at significant risk for growth arrest and, if so, whether this risk is related to varicocele size.

MATERIALS AND METHODS:

We retrospectively reviewed the records of boys with a varicocele. Testis volume was measured with calipers and computed into cc as (length x width x breadth) x 0.521. Testicular growth arrest was defined as left testis at least 15% smaller than the right testis. Varicocele size was graded 1-barely palpable, 2-palpable but not visible, 3a-visible and, 1 to 1.5 times the size of the ipsilateral testis, 3b-1.5 to 2 times the size of the ipsilateral testis and 3c-greater than 2 times the size of the ipsilateral testis. Boys with a grade 1 varicocele and those treated with previous inguinal or testicular surgery were excluded from study. Repair was recommended for testicular growth arrest or discomfort. Data were analyzed with chi-square and Fisher's exact test.

RESULTS:

The records of 124 boys 7 to 18 years old (mean age 13) with a varicocele were reviewed. Seven patients were excluded from analysis, yielding a total of 117 boys. Testicular growth arrest was observed at initial visit in 10 of 33 (30.3%) grade 2, 18 of 37 (48.6%) grade 3a, 14 of 31 (45.2%) grade 3b and 6 of 16 (37.5%) grade 3c cases (p not significant), or a total of 38 of 84 (45.2%) grade 3 cases (p <0.01) plus grade 2. Followup ranged from 1 to 5 years. Of the cases of equal sized testes at presentation growth arrest was observed in 3 of 16 (18.8%) grade 2, 2 of 11 (18.2%) grade 3a, 4 of 14 (28.6%) grade 3b and 3 of 9 (33.3%) grade 3c (p not significant), or a total of 9 of 34 (26.5%) grade 3 cases (p not significant) plus grade 2. Overall, testicular growth arrest was found in 13 of 33 (39%) grade 2 and 47 of 84 (56%) grade 3 varicoceles (p <0.01).

CONCLUSIONS:

Boys with a varicocele are at significant risk for testicular growth arrest, irrespective of varicocele size, and those with a grade 3 varicocele have a higher risk of testicular growth arrest than those with a grade 2 varicocele. Of boys with testes of equal size at diagnosis growth arrest is observed during adolescence in approximately 25% irrespective of varicocele size.

PMID:
12352335
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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