Adolescent Varicocelectomy: Success at What Cost? Clinical Outcome and Cost Comparison of Surgical Ligation and Percutaneous Embolization.

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DOI: 10.1089/lap.2020.0836


Objectives: Evaluate clinical outcome, recurrence, morbidity, and cost associated with laparoscopic surgical ligation versus percutaneous embolization of adolescent varicocele. We hypothesize that both approaches are similar in outcomes, complications, and cost.

Materials and Methods: A retrospective review of 56 consecutive adolescent males, ≤18 years from 2006 to 2016 with clinical varicocele who underwent laparoscopic surgical ligation or percutaneous embolization. Patient demographics, operative time, postoperative complications, success, varicocele grade, recurrence, and hospital charges were abstracted.

Results: Mean age was 14.2 ± 2.1 years; 48 (86%) patients having undergone laparoscopic surgical ligation and 8 (14%) percutaneous embolization. Intervention in 45 (80%) patients was for testicular hypotrophy (mean 27.4% ± 15.6%) and 11 (20%) for pain symptomology. Median follow-up was 17.5 months (range 1-65 months). After ligation, 2 (4%) patients developed hydroceles (1 with subsequent hydrocelectomy) and 6 (12%) varicocele recurrence. There were no cases of hydrocele or varicocele recurrence after percutaneous embolization. Twenty ligation patients had postoperative scrotal ultrasound demonstrating an increase in testicular volume by a reduction in difference in testicular volume from 27.3% ± 14.7% preoperatively to 11.2% ± 13.6% postoperatively (P < .001). There was significant difference in mean operative time between the groups (surgical ligation 41.3 minutes versus percutaneous embolization 117.9 minutes, P < .001) and hospital charges for the procedure (surgical ligation $3983 versus percutaneous embolization $18.165, P < .001).

Conclusions: Contrary to our hypothesis, percutaneous embolization has seemingly lower rates of postoperative hydrocele and varicocele recurrence in comparison to surgical ligation but with three times the exposure to general anesthesia and at four times the price.

Journal Title

Journal of laparoendoscopic & advanced surgical techniques. Part A





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MeSH Keywords

Adolescent; Costs and Cost Analysis; Humans; Laparoscopy; Ligation; Male; Recurrence; Retrospective Studies; Treatment Outcome; Varicocele


cost analysis; embolization-therapeutic; laparoscopy; pain; testicular hydrocele; varicocele

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