Author(s): Mariotti A, Di Carlo L, Orlando G, Corradini ML, Di Donato L,
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Abstract Varicocele is defined as the pathological dilatation of the pampiniform plexus and scrotal veins with venous blood reflux. Varicocele may impair scrotal thermoregulation and spermatogenesis, even when present in asymptomatic forms. In this study, we use the control system theory to model scrotal thermoregulation in response to a standardized cold challenge in order to study the functional thermal impairment secondary to varicocele. The proposed model is based on a homeostatic negative feedback loop, characterized by four distinct parameters, which describe how the control mechanisms are activated and maintained. Thermal infrared images series from 49 young patients suffering from left varicocele and 17 healthy controls were processed. With respect to healthy controls, left varicocele patients presented higher basal scrotal temperature and faster recovery of the left hemiscrotum. The model indicated that varicocele alters local heat exchange processes among cutaneous layers and inner structures. The estimated model parameters help in the assessment of the scrotal thermoregulatory impairment secondary to the disease.
This article was published in Ann Biomed Eng
and referenced in Journal of Obesity & Weight Loss Therapy