A varicocele is mass of enlarged and swollen veins in the testicle that essentially feels like a bag of worms.
- A varicocele is generally neither harmful nor painful.
- Approximately 15 percent of boys have this condition, which almost always occurs on the left side.
- A varicocele usually develops at puberty, but can occur earlier.
Surgery or no surgery?
Boston Children's Hospital physicians make a diagnosis based on whether your son is having any pain associated with the varicocele.
- If your son is experiencing pain, your Children's urologist will recommend a simple, outpatient surgical procedure.
- If there's no pain, your urologist may recommend nothing more than annual ultrasounds to ensure your son's testicle is growing normally. However, a current study at Children's is examining which approach is better in adolescents: immediate surgery for the varicocele, or with the option of surgery after a waiting period.