Varicocele and concomitant dilation of the periprostatic venous plexus: effects on semen viscosity sperm parameters

J Endocrinol Invest. 2016 May;39(5):543-7. doi: 10.1007/s40618-015-0401-9. Epub 2015 Oct 30.


Introduction: Since varicocele is often associated with other venous abnormalities, this study was undertaken to evaluate the frequency of dilation of the periprostatic venous plexus (DPVP) in these patients and the effects of this association on sperm parameters before and after varicocelectomy.

Materials and methods: Sperm parameters were evaluated using the conventional WHO criteria, and seminal fluid viscosity was further evaluated by quantitative viscometry, in 50 patients (aged 20-38 years) who underwent surgical treatment for grade III bilateral varicocele.

Results: Thirty patients with varicocele had also DPVP (DPVP+) (60 %). Sperm concentration and the percentage of spermatozoa with normal morphology did not differ significantly in patients with DPVP- or DPVP+ before or after surgical repair. On the other hand, sperm progressive motility was low in all patients and increased significantly after varicocele repair, but only in DPVP- patients. Before varicocele treatment, a significantly higher number of DPVP+ patients (25/30 = 83.3 %) had seminal fluid hyperviscosity compared to DPVP- patient (2/20 = 10.0 %). Viscosity quantitative measurement was significantly higher in DPVP+ patients both before and after varicocele repair compared to DPVP- patients. These latter showed a statistically significant reduction of sperm viscosity after varicocele surgical repair compared to pretreatment values. Finally, periprostatic venous plexus diameter and seminal fluid viscosity correlated directly in DPVP+ patients.

Conclusions: In conclusion, these results showed that a large number of patients with varicocele had a concomitant DPVP. This subset of patients did not take advantage from varicocele surgical repair since only DPVP- varicocele patients showed a significant improvement of sperm progressive motility and seminal fluid viscosity. These findings suggest the evaluation of the periprostatic venous plexus and seminal fluid viscosity before patients with varicocele undergo surgical repair for asthenozoospemia.

Keywords: Periprostatic venous plexus; Semen viscosity; Varicocele.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Dilatation
  • Humans
  • Infertility, Male / diagnosis
  • Infertility, Male / etiology*
  • Male
  • Prospective Studies
  • Prostate / blood supply*
  • Semen / chemistry*
  • Spermatozoa / pathology*
  • Varicocele / complications*
  • Varicocele / pathology
  • Varicocele / surgery
  • Veins / pathology*
  • Viscosity
  • Young Adult