Forty percent of men with infertility have a varicocele which is identified by physical examination.  A varicocele is an abnormal dilation of veins around the testicle which has been well established to cause an adverse effect on testicular function.  This includes decreasing semen parameters over time as well as causing an increase in sperm DNA damage.  A microsurgical repair of a varicocele can increase semen parameters as well as decrease the level of sperm DNA damage.  The majority of men with varicoceles have the varicocele on the left side.  In some men, varicoceles can cause enough testicular injury that they can actually cause the testicle on the side of the varicocele, most commonly the left, to atrophy or shrink in size.  The team at AFRM recently published a research article revealing that men with testicular atrophy due to a varicocele can still get significant improvement in testicular function with repair of the varicocele with the ability to improve their fertility potential.  Dr. Parviz Kavoussi states, “This is a very important finding to help appropriately counsel infertile men with varicoceles and testicular atrophy to help guide them in their decision making to optimize their fertility.”

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