Varicocele Surgery Recovery Time: What You Need to KnowFertility Treatment
Varicocele is an abnormal enlargement of a blood vessel inside the scrotum, which can reduce sperm count, change the shape of the sperm, and reduce motility.
As one of the main reasons for infertility in men, varicocele should be treated in time. Varicocele surgery, also called varicocelectomy, is a surgical procedure in which doctors cure damaged vessels.
In this surgery, the scrotum-damaged vessels are cut off so the blood can flow just as usual in the reproductive organs.
Since varicocelectomy recovery plays an essential role in achieving the best results from the surgery, in this article, we discuss different aspects of it and provide useful tips on what to do during the varicocele surgery recovery.
What Is Varicocele Surgery?
Varicocelectomy is a surgical treatment designed to eliminate varicocele, especially if it causes pain, dry skin, and infertility. In varicocele surgery, the damaged vein is either closed or cut so that the blood is directed to healthy arteries.
Varicocele surgery improves sperm quality, increases sperm and testosterone production, and reduces the pain caused by inflammation in arteries. There are three types of varicocele surgery; open, laparoscopic, and microsurgical.
Recovery Period After Varicocele Surgery
How fast and easy to recover from varicocele surgery depends on many factors, the most important of which is the technique used for the surgical procedure. Generally, people who have undergone open varicocelectomy will have a more difficult and longer recovery than those who were operated on laparoscopically.
Recovery After Open Varicocelectomy
Since open varicocelectomy is done under general anesthesia and involves an incision on the scrotum, its recovery period is more extended and inconvenient. You may have pain in your scrotum, groin, and penis during varicocele surgery recovery, so you may need to take prescribed painkillers to minimize your pain. Moreover, your testicles will be swollen for almost a month after open surgery, but you can reduce the inflammation by putting ice packs on the testes. It is worth mentioning that lifting, pushing, and pulling heavy objects and strenuous exercises are highly prohibited in the varicocele surgery recovery period.
Recovery After Laparoscopic Varicocelectomy
Since laparoscopic varicocelectomy is a less invasive procedure, its recovery period is much shorter and more accessible. You can return to work almost a week after the surgery if your job is not physically demanding.
During the varicocelectomy recovery period, you will have moderate pain, which will subside gradually, but keep in mind that strenuous activities and lifting after varicocele surgery may increase your pain and swelling, so it is recommended to avoid doing heavy activities until your doctor allows you to.
An important point about taking medication after varicocelectomy is that you shouldn't stop taking them just because you feel better. Also, you should avoid taking OTC medications such as aspirin and sedatives at your discretion.
General Care after Varicocele Surgery
In the following, we mentioned some of the general care after varicocele surgery:
- You will be discharged on the day of the surgery. Doctors may recommend asking someone to be your caregiver in the hospital for a couple of hours;
- Take painkillers and antibiotics as prescribed;
- Use a protective sac to protect the testicles;
- Avoid lifting after varicocele surgery;
- Use an ice pack to prevent swelling;
- About six hours after the operation, you can have drinks;
- You should limit your movement in the first 24 hours after surgery;
- Avoid strenuous activities for the first two weeks after the surgery; and
- After two or three weeks, you can exercise but not in a way that causes varicocele recurrence.
Continue reading to get more information on other varicocelectomy aftercare.
What to Avoid after Varicocele Surgery?
During the varicocelectomy recovery, you should refrain from heavy activities such as lifting, pushing, and pulling anything heavier than 10 pounds, bending over, running, swimming, riding a bicycle, and doing aerobics as they may increase the pain and swelling and prolonging the recovery period. Also, it would be best not to sit on the ground or on a chair for too long during the first week after the operation. If you have undergone open varicocelectomy, do not scratch or scrub the incision site until your wounds are completely healed.
What to Eat to Ensure Faster Recovery after Varicocele Surgery?
Having a proper diet after varicocele surgery has an influential role in the speed of the recovery process. During the varicocelectomy recovery, consider the following tips:
- Right after the varicocele surgery, you may have stomachache and nausea; that’s why it is suggested not to eat hard food for six hours after the surgery;
- If your surgery has been done under general anesthesia, you can have low-fat foods, yogurt, cereal, rice, fruit and vegetable, and bread from a day after the surgery;
- Have enough fruits, vegetables and plenty of fluids to avoid constipation;
- By the time that your stomach is upset, do not have dishes that heighten your constipation and bloating (such as processed foods, red meat, fried foods, vegetables like cabbage and broccoli, and iron supplement) as they may lead to rupture of your stitches;
- Have more low-fat foods such as plain rice, toast, chicken, and yogurt;
- Take fiber supplements on your doctor’s dissertation;
- Take prescribed laxatives if you didn’t have a bowel movement for 2 or 3 days;
- Avoid caffeine and alcoholic beverages for a week after the operation.
How to Sleep After Varicocele Surgery?
During the varicocele surgery recovery time, it is better to sleep on your back. Do not raise your leg during sleep; put sleeping pillows under your knees to reduce the pressure. After two weeks, your veins will be healed, and you can sleep in whatever position you desire.
Showering After Varicose Vein Surgery
It is recommended not to take a shower for 48 hours after varicocele surgery. After this period, remove the protective sac and bandages, then wash your body with warm water and soap. When bathing, do not sit down, and be careful not to scrub your incision site.
Exercising After Varicocelectomy
For the first two weeks after varicocelectomy, do not push, pull, or lift objects more than five kilograms. Activities that will strain or apply pressure on your testicle, such as biking, running, mountain climbing, Pilates, aerobics, and weight-lifting, should be avoided for about a month after the surgery. However, you can go for a walk now and then until your veins are fully recovered.
Having Sex After Varicocele Surgery
Having sex during the varicocele surgery recovery time is not allowed until your wounds are completely healed, and your pain is gone. In most cases, the patient should wait at least three weeks before he can have sexual intercourse.
Getting Back to Work after Varicocelectomy
Depending on the type of surgery and the difficulty of your job, it may take one to three weeks for you to get back to work. Patients who undergo laparoscopic and microsurgical varicocelectomy have a shorter recovery period and can return to work a week after the operation. However, if you have a demanding job requiring too much physical exertion, you must wait a month before returning to work.
Removing Bandages and Sutures After Varicose Vein Surgery
In open varicose vein surgery, an incision is made on the abdomen, and a bandage is placed on the sutures after the operation. This bandage will fall by itself a few days after the surgery. Also, the stitches used in this surgery will be absorbed or pulled out by your doctor about a week after the operation. So, it is essential not to remove them yourself during the varicocelectomy recovery.
How Long Does Swelling Last After Varicocele Surgery?
Swelling and discomfort after varicocele surgery are normal, but most people find them unbearable. The good news is that the swelling will naturally fade away three to four weeks after the surgery, but you can speed it up by using ice packs and putting one or two pillows under your knee when sleeping. If swelling lasts more than a month after varicocelectomy, contact your surgeon.
Possible Side Effects of Varicocele Surgery
Just like other surgical procedures, varicocele has short-term and long-term side effects. Usually, the doctor will inform his patient of the possible complications of the surgery in the consultation session. Along with the side effects of anesthesia, varicocele surgery has some possible side effects such as:
- It may not improve semen parameters or increase the chances of fertility;
- In rare cases, a varicocele may recur due to the enlargement of small blood vessels missed during the surgery;
- Hydrocele (fluid accumulation in the scrotum) is the most common complication of varicocele surgery in 10 to 15% of patients. Although in most cases, this problem eliminates without surgical treatment, sometimes the patient will need to undergo another surgery to drain the fluid;
- In some rare cases, the vas deferens may get injured after varicocelectomy. In such a situation, another surgery is needed;
- Blood clot. When a vessel bleeds after varicocele surgery, the body will form a blood clot to stop the bleeding. However, the body will absorb it after a short period, and performing another surgery is not needed;
- In some patients, the pain in the groin gets chronic;
- Several small nerves in the vas deferens are extended to the groin and scrotum. After the surgery, the scrotal sac and the inner part of the tights may be numb for some weeks due to the nerves severance;
- The testicular may shrink because some blood vessels have been cut, and blood flow in the reproductive organ has been limited.
How to Reduce Pain After Varicocele Surgery?
During the varicocelectomy recovery, you should take painkillers such as ibuprofen, acetaminophen, and Advil to relieve your pain, as well as antibiotics to prevent infection. These medications make the swelling and bruising go away faster. Most patients need to take sedatives for three days; however, remember that taking these drugs can cause constipation and other digestive problems. So, the surgeon may prescribe laxatives such as bisacodyl and methylcellulose to increase your bowel movement during the varicocele surgery recovery time. Moreover, as you may have postoperative nausea and vomiting (PONV), you may need to take anti-nausea pills for a few days. In some cases, where the reason for performing varicocelectomy is fertility problems, the doctor may also prescribe some medications and supplements to treat infertility.
Warning Signs after Varicocele Surgery
Varicocelectomy has some possible complications, such as bruising, infection, pain, testicular tenderness, digestive problems, etc., which are normal and expected. However, in case of facing the following conditions, visit your doctor as soon as possible:
- Fever above 37.5˚;
- Chronic pain that does not go away with prescribed painkillers;
- Bleeding in incision site; and
- Intense hydrocele.
Is Pregnancy Possible After Varicocelectomy?
Treating varicocele will improve sperm parameters such as concentration, motility, and count by restoring blood flow to the scrotum. Also, the testosterone level in the blood will be regulated after varicocelectomy. So, if the cause of male infertility is varicocele, the man has a higher chance of becoming a father when his varicocele is treated.
Medications after Varicocelectomy
Taking medication after varicocelectomy plays an important role in recovery as it reduces your pain, prevents infection, and speeds up the wound healing procedure. For an even more comfortable recovery, consider the following tips:
- Do not stop taking medicines just because you feel better;
- Avoid taking OTC medications such as aspirin and sedatives at your own discretion;
- If you used to take certain medications, ask your doctor if you can restart them;
- Take painkillers just as they are prescribed;
- Take the full course of antibiotics;
- If you have a drug allergy, inform your doctor;
- If the medications make you nauseous, take them after your meal or ask your doctor to change them.
Varicocele Recurrence after Varicocelectomy
Varicocele recurrence refers to the dilation of closed veins after varicocelectomy. In other words, during the varicocele surgery, damaged vessels are closed, but they may swell someday after the operation. The second varicocelectomy has multiple complications, such as hydrocele, scrotal pain, testicle atrophy, etc., so it should be used only in emergencies. Also, it is recommended to use color Doppler ultrasound to diagnose the recurrent varicocele.
Varicocele Surgery in Iran
Varicocele does not require treatment in all cases. But when varicocele causes pain, testicular atrophy, or infertility, it should be treated surgically. All three methods, as mentioned earlier, are practiced in high-standard and equipped clinics and hospitals in Iran. In addition, Iranian urologists offer medical support and follow-up care weeks after the varicocelectomy.
Last but not least, the price of varicocele surgery in Iran ranges from $800 to $1.500, while it will cost you more than $4.000 in U.S. and Europe. It is worth mentioning that factors such as the severity of the disease, the treatment method, the facilities of the clinic, and the surgeon's fee affect the cost of varicocele surgery in Iran.
To summarize, varicocelectomy is a surgical treatment for varicocele mainly done under general anesthesia. Although this operation is simple and has a short recovery period, its postoperative cares are essential and can affect the result of the surgery.
Raadina Team can help you choose the most suitable and affordable package for varicocelectomy in Iran. Our packages include applying for a medical Visa, booking doctor's appointments, booking hotels and accommodations near the hospital, arranging transfers, etc.
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FAQs on Varicocele Surgery
1) Does varicocele surgery affect testicle size?
Although varicocele does not affect erection or penial size, it increases the size of testicles.
2) Does varicocele surgery improve testosterone?
One of the aims of varicocele surgery is to increase testosterone production; therefore, testosterone level increases in 70 percent of the patients who undergo this operation.
3) What are the results of varicocele surgery after six months?
Three to six months after varicocele surgery, sperm parameters such as motility and concentration are significantly improved, and you will not have any pain during ejaculation and urination.
4) What happens to the veins after varicocele surgery?
You may notice dilation of the veins in the scrotum right after the varicocelectomy, but this swelling will subside gradually.
5) How long does it take for varicocele to disappear after surgery?
The inflammation and bruising of the varicocele vein will go away about a month after the surgery. However, varicocele disappears much sooner in people who undergo laparoscopic varicocelectomy.
6) Can I walk after varicocele surgery?
The day after varicocele surgery, you should refrain from unnecessary walks. From the second day, you can walk short distances but be careful not to strain your testicles.
7) Can I drive after varicocele surgery?
Regardless of the varicocele surgery method, most surgeons recommend not driving for 24 to 48 hours after the surgery.
8) Can I climb stairs after varicocele surgery?
You can gently walk up and down the stairs from the second day after the operation, but you should be careful not to put pressure on the testicles.