Approaches to Pediatric and Adolescent Varicocele

AW Pastuszak, V Kumar, A Shah, DR Roth

AW Pastuszak, V Kumar, A Shah, DR Roth
Diagnostic and Management Approaches to Pediatric and Adolescent Varicocele: A Survey of Pediatric Urologists
Urology 2014 Aug 01;84(2)450-456 


To assess current diagnosis and management of adolescent varicoceles by pediatric urologists.

Online questionnaires assessing diagnosis and management approaches to pediatric and adolescent varicocele were distributed electronically to a national listing of pediatric urologists.

Of 242 pediatric urologists surveyed, 131 (54%) responded to the survey. Only 3% of respondents operate on varicoceles at diagnosis, whereas 14% observe, and 83% base treatment on further indications. Varicocelectomy is most commonly performed for decreased ipsilateral testicular size (96%), testicular pain (79%), and altered semen analysis parameters (39%), with the mean age for varicocelectomy being 12.5 ± 3.1 years. Most physicians use ultrasonography (US) or Doppler US to aid in the diagnosis of varicoceles, and half of physicians would not repair incidental findings of varicocele on US. In an otherwise asymptomatic patient with a varicocele, 28% of physicians would consider varicocelectomy depending on varicocele grade. The most common surgical approaches to varicocelectomy were laparascopic (38%), subinguinal microsurgical (28%), inguinal (14%), and retroperitoneal (13%), and most physicians used loupes for these procedures. The most common complication experienced after adolescent varicocelectomy was hydrocele followed by hematoma, testicular atrophy, chronic pain, paresthesia, and varicocele recurrence or persistence. Only 58% of physicians had follow-up data on their varicocele patients, and 89% did not know whether patients developed infertility. Of patients who developed infertility, 39% had undergone varicocele repair.

Significant variation in diagnostic approaches, decision to treat, and operative approaches exists among pediatric urologists, and combined with a dearth of objective data, limits development of management guidelines.