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J Urol. 2010 Oct;184(4 Suppl):1716-21. doi: 10.1016/j.juro.2010.03.123. Epub 2010 Aug 21.

Is adolescent varicocelectomy safe after previous inguinal surgery?

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Division of Pediatric Urology, Department of Urology, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital, New York Presbyterian, New York, New York 10032, USA.



Varicocelectomy after previous inguinal surgery poses a potential risk of testicular volume loss. To assess the extent to which varicocelectomy can be done without the complication of ipsilateral testis atrophy we present outcomes in adolescent patients with a history of inguinal surgery who underwent ipsilateral varicocelectomy.


We retrospectively reviewed patient data from a single urologist practice. Testicular volume was recorded preferentially by ultrasound or, when unavailable, by ring orchidometry. Testicular asymmetry was calculated using the formula, [(right testis volume - left testis volume)/right testis volume] × 100. Symmetry was defined as less than 10% asymmetry. Catch-up growth was defined as resolution of asymmetry.


We identified 22 adolescent patients who fit study criteria. The patients underwent a total of 25 varicocelectomies since 3 underwent bilateral repair after previous bilateral inguinal surgery. Initial inguinal surgery included inguinal herniorrhaphy, hydrocelectomy and orchiopexy. Varicocelectomy was done laparoscopically in 17 cases and via open technique in 8 with variations in preservation/sacrifice of the lymphatics and artery. Median ± SD followup was 24.2 ± 18.2 months. After varicocelectomy mean testicular asymmetry decreased from 27.6% to 10.5%. There was no incidence of testicular atrophy postoperatively. The incidence of catch-up growth was 43% with no difference between the artery sparing and the nonartery sparing technique.


Varicocelectomy with a history of previous inguinal surgery is safe and provides a significant incidence of testicular catch-up growth. Artery sparing vs sacrificing technique did not make a difference in terms of catch-up growth.

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