Subclinical varicocele: the effectiveness of varicocelectomy

J Urol. 1991 Apr;145(4):789-91. doi: 10.1016/s0022-5347(17)38452-5.


To investigate the controversial concept that subclinical varicoceles are detrimental to spermatogenesis, we undertook a prospective study of the effectiveness of surgery in 56 infertile men with clinical and subclinical varicoceles. Our statistical approach specifies improvement as a change from individual baseline level. The over-all variability in sperm counts precluded the demonstration of significant changes in sperm density consequent to surgery. Improvement in sperm motility was seen in both groups, being slightly greater in the subclinical group. The changes were inversely related to baseline levels and increased with time from surgery. Therefore, it appears that the detection of subclinical varicoceles may be warranted in infertile men with abnormal semen parameters.

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Infertility, Male / diagnosis
  • Infertility, Male / etiology
  • Male
  • Prospective Studies
  • Sperm Count
  • Sperm Motility
  • Spermatogenesis
  • Varicocele / complications
  • Varicocele / physiopathology
  • Varicocele / surgery*