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Int Urol Nephrol. 2008;40(4):983-7. doi: 10.1007/s11255-008-9397-9. Epub 2008 May 24.

Is the presence of venous reflux really significant in the diagnosis of varicocele?

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School of Medicine, Department of Urology, University of Ankara, Ibni Sina Hastanesi, Samanpazari, Ankara, 06100, Turkey.



We have attempted to determine the incidence of venous reflux detected by color Doppler in varicoceles of various grades evaluated during a physical examination.


The data of patients referred to our outpatient clinic between 1997 and 2007 with the diagnosis of varicocele due to complaints of scrotal pain, palpable swelling or infertility were retrospectively reviewed. The presence of venous reflux was compared with the grade of varicoceles during a physical examination.


A total of 802 male patients with a mean age of 27.1 years (range 16-52 years) were included in this study. Of these, physical examination reviewed that ten (1.2%), 72 (9.0%), 433 (54.0%) and 287 (35.8%) patients had grade 0, 1, 2 or 3 varicoceles, respectively, on the left side and that 607 (75.7%), 73 (9.1%), 108 (13.5%) and 14 (1.7%) patients had grade 0, 1, 2 or 3 varicoceles, respectively, on the right side. Color Doppler examination revealed venous reflux in three (30.0%) grade 0 testicular units, 63 (87.5%) grade 1 testicular units, 400 (92.4%) grade 2 testicular units and 273 (95.1%) grade 3 testicular units on the left side and venous reflux in 99 (16.3%) grade 0 testicular units, 54 (73.6%) grade 1 testicular units, 88 (81.5%) grade 2 testicular units and 12 (85.7%) grade 3 testicular units on the right side. Physical examination did not reveal any statistically significant correlation between the incidence of venous reflux and the grade of the clinically evident varicoceles for both sides.


For assessing the severity of clinically evident varicoceles, the clinician should not use venous reflux as the sole predictor because of its high incidence in all grades of varicoceles. Additional measurements, such as flow volume, duration and velocity of reflux, are recommended as diagnostic tools for assessing the severity of varicocele more accurately.

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