Author(s): Cayan S, Akbay E, Bozlu M, Doruk E
PURPOSE: We investigated the effect of varicocele repair on testicular volume according to age in children and adolescents and review the long-term results of varicocele surgery.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: The study included 39 boys 11 to 19 years old with clinical palpable varicocele who underwent varicocele surgery with at least 1 year of postoperative followup. Preoperative and postoperative testicular volumes were monitored and measured with an ellipsoid Prader orchidometer. Physical examination findings (testicular volumes and testicular consistency) in all boys, and serum hormone values and semen parameters in 16 adolescents were recorded and compared before and after surgery.
RESULTS: Left unilateral varicocelectomy was done in 29 boys (74%) and bilateral varicocelectomy in 10 (26%). While no postoperative hematoma, infection or testicular atrophy was observed, 1 boy (2.5%) had varicocele recurrence and 2 boys (5.1%) had minimal hydroceles that required no intervention. Significant increases were observed in postoperative sperm concentration (p = 0.01), total motile sperm count (p = 0.009), testis volume (p = 0.000) and serum testosterone level (p = 0.014). All 15 boys with preoperative soft testis had normal testicular consistency postoperatively. Of the 19 boys with preoperative testicular atrophy 10 (53%) did regain normal testicular growth, while 9 (47%) retained testicular volume loss after surgery. When comparing preoperative to postoperative increase in testicular volume according to age in all boys, the mean was statistically significantly higher in boys younger than 14 years (left testis p = 0.037, right testis p = 0.000).
CONCLUSIONS: Testicular consistency achieved normal firmness after varicocelectomy in all boys with preoperative soft testis. While there was catch-up growth in comparison to the contralateral testis, testicular consistency improved but testicular volumes may not increase significantly after varicocele repair at ages older than 14 years. However, in these adolescents postoperative semen parameters and serum hormone values may significantly improve regardless of testicular volume. Therefore, boys with varicocele and their families should be fully informed in light of these findings.