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Artículo Tomo 71, Número. 6, Jul/Ago 2018

Archivos Españoles de Urología

Varicocele treatment in patients up to 35 years old: A multicentric retrospective study comparing 3 different techniques.

Authors: Luís Sepúlveda, Diana Coimbra, Mário Lourenço, Liliana Santos, Catarina Oliveira, Sílvia Coutinho and Manuel Ramos.

Arch. Esp. Urol. 2018; 71 (6): 543-548

Vol. 71, Number. 6, Jul/Aug 2018

OBJECTIVE: To report and compare the clinical outcomes after varicocele treatment managed by open surgery, laparoscopic approach and embolization, with an emphasis in terms of recurrence, complication rate and length of surgery.

METHODS: 2 different Portuguese Centers collected pre and postoperative data of patients submitted to varicocele treatment. Over a period of 8 years, 251 cases were evaluated retrospectively and 161 were included and further divided in procedure-related groups. Patients older than 35 years-old were excluded. Laparoscopic Palomo (without artery-sparing technique), artery-sparing Open Palomo surgery and retrograde percutaneous embolization were performed. As outcome measures recurrence/persistence, postoperative hydrocele and other complications were analyzed. Patients were followed a mean of 11.84 months.

RESULTS: In the 72 cases in the laparoscopy group, varicocele persisted in 7% and hydrocele developed in 18%. In the 41 patients who underwent retrograde percutaneous embolization recurrent varicoceles were identified in 17% and 10% presented postoperative hydroceles. Of the 48 patients who underwent suprainguinal retroperitoneal open surgery with artery preservation, varicocele recurred in 17%, while hydroceles developed in 6%. The overall success rate, defined as absence of recurrence or persistence of the varicocele during follow-up, was 87.6%. Comparison of reactive hydrocele and recurrence rates with the variables of age, degree of varicocele and length of follow-up showed that both parameters were statistically dependent on the duration of postoperative surveillance (p<0.05).

CONCLUSIONS: Comparison of all 3 groups did not revealed significant differences in varicocele recurrence and hydrocele formation (p>0.05). Pairwise group comparison showed that open surgery with artery preservation and retrograde embolization might carry a higher risk of recurrence/persistence compared to laparoscopic mass ligation of the spermatic vessels. On the other hand, the laparoscopic approach with en bloc ligation of the spermatic vessels may be associated with a higher risk of secondary hydrocele. According to our data varicocele embolization appears to be slightly less successful than laparoscopy, with similar overall complication rate. Most varicocele recurrences and postoperative hydrocele formation are seen in patients with more than 12 months of follow-up so appropriate length of postoperative surveillance is deemed necessary in these patients.

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