Varicocele percutaneous embolization outcomes in a pediatric group: 7-year retrospective study
Percutaneous embolization and surgical repair are the current treatment options for varicocele, but determining method superiority remains controversial. In this retrospective study, we evaluate the technical success, complication and recurrence rates following percutaneous embolization in a pediatric group, which were compared to reported outcomes for surgical repairs. Thirty children treated for percutaneous varicocele embolization were recruited. The side and grade of varicocele, symptoms, testicular asymmetry, mean recurrence time, total radiation dose and complications were evaluated. Recurrence and follow-up complications due to embolization were also reviewed. The venography showed retrograde filling of the internal spermatic vein with the identification of aberrantly fed vessels in 23 % of patients. None of the patients suffered from procedure complications except one who had venous injury which was treated with a sclerosing agent. The technical success rate was 93 % (28 patients) with a recurrence rate of 13 % (4 patients). Interestingly, the mean radiation dose used was 862.5 A mu Gy m(2), 3 times lower than abdominal CT. Considering the intravascular nature of embolization, which aims to avoid testicular artery and spermatic cord damage (difficult to avoid with the surgical method), and consequently a lower complication rate, along with the same success rate and recurrence rate, our study supports that embolization is a superior method to surgical interventions.