Purpose: Testicular hypotrophy is the most widely accepted indication for correcting adolescent varicocele. Previous studies in adolescents have shown a relationship between increasing grade of varicocele and the likelihood of testicular hypotrophy. As this relationship has significant clinical implications, we studied the correlation between grade and testicular volume disproportion in our adolescent varicocele population.
Materials and methods: We reviewed the adolescent varicocele database at our institution. A total of 168 patients 8 to 21 years old were studied. We routinely calculated testis volumes using scrotal ultrasound. Testicular disproportion was calculated using the equation [(size of unaffected testis) - (size of affected testis)]/(size of unaffected testis) x 100%. Disproportion was categorized as less than 10%, 10% to 20% and more than 20%. Varicoceles were graded by an attending urologist with the patient standing, using the system of Dubin and Amelar. Analysis of variance and Pearson chi-square indicated no significant differences in volume differential between varicocele grades.
Results: Mean +/- SD volume differential was 18% +/- 15% for grade I, 25% +/- 20% for grade II and 19% +/- 14% for grade III. ANOVA revealed no significant difference in mean volume differential between the 3 varicocele grades (p = 0.10). When categorizing patients into 3 levels of volume differential (less than 10%, 10% to 20%, more than 20%) no significant correlation was observed between varicocele and volume differential (p = 0.48, chi-square test).
Conclusions: Grade of varicocele does not correlate with presence or severity of testicular disproportion in adolescent boys with varicocele as measured by scrotal ultrasound.