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J Ultrasound. 2011 Dec;14(4):199-204. doi: 10.1016/j.jus.2011.08.001. Epub 2011 Sep 1.

Varicocele: Ultrasonographic assessment in daily clinical practice.

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Foundation IRCCS, Policlinico San Matteo, Institute of Radiology, University of Pavia, Italy.


in English, Italian


Varicoceles are abnormal dilatations of the pampiniform venous plexus. They are classified as primary or secondary, depending on their cause, and staged clinically on the basis of their extension and on the presence or the absence of spontaneous or induced reversal of blood flow.


We examined 95 patients (age range: 3-77 years) using Color Doppler ultrasound with settings optimized for the study of slow flow. All patients found to have varicoceles underwent ultrasonographic assessment of the kidneys and retroperitoneum. Findings were classified with a simplified version of the Sarteschi system.


41 (43.1%) of the patients were found to have varicoceles, which were classified as grade 1 in 11 cases, grade 2 in 13, grade 3 in 10, and grade 4 in 7 according to the simplified Sarteschi classification.


Our results are with those reported in the literature. They confirm that varicoceles are a frequent finding and ultrasonography is currently the best imaging technique for its diagnosis and also for the post-surgery follow-up.


Color Doppler ultrasonography; Infertility; Varicocele

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