picture of varicoceleVaricoceles are varicose veins of the testicle that are analogous to varicose veins that some patients get in their legs. They cause a soft swelling like a sack of grapes in the scrotum.

Varicoceles can cause scrotal pain and can cause infertility. Infertility is due to the effects of warming of the testicle on sperm production. Testicles are most efficient at producing sperm when they cool relative to the body temperature. This is why testicles reside in the scrotum and not in the abdomen like a woman's ovaries.

The treatment of a varicocele is to ligate the feeder vein. This causes the pressure in the varicocele to go down and causes the varicocele to shrink. With the blood congestion around the testicle resolving the testicle returns to its normal temperature and sperm production returns to normal. This is an outpatient procedure that takes about thirty minutes.