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Urology. 2004 Aug;64(2):357-60; discussion 360-1.

Laparoscopic varicocele ligation: are there advantages compared with the microscopic subinguinal approach?

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Division of Urology, University of Colorado School of Medicine, Denver, Colorado, USA.



To compare the operative time, outcome, complications, and patient costs between laparoscopic varicocele ligation (LVL) and subinguinal microscopic varicocelectomy (SMV) in two patient cohorts. Varicocele therapy is a controversial issue, with no single approach adopted as the best therapeutic option. LVL has been considered more expensive and of no proven benefit compared with SMV.


We compared two groups of patients who underwent surgical correction of varicocele at our institutions during a 6-year period. Group 1 included postpubertal adolescents who underwent LVL and group 2 included adults seen at an infertility practice who underwent SMV. The outcome measures selected included operative time, direct hospital costs to the patient, and negative outcomes.


We identified a total of 72 patients, 36 (mean age 13.8 years) in group 1 and 36 (mean age 34.1 years) in group 2. Group 1 had no persistent or recurrent varicoceles compared with 4 patients in group 2. Three men in group 2 required emergency room evaluation and no patient did so in group 1. No hydroceles developed in group 2, but three developed in group 1.


LVL resulted in shorter operative times and fewer negative outcomes compared with SMV. This translated into lower direct patient costs for LVL. For those who have mastered laparoscopic techniques, LVL should be considered a safe, cost-effective option in the correction of varicoceles.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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