Fast Five Quiz: Test Your Knowledge of Varicoceles

Bradley Schwartz, DO

Disclosures

March 06, 2018

Varicoceles are much more common (approximately 80%-90%) in the left testicle than in the right because of several anatomic factors, including the following:

  • The angle at which the left testicular vein enters the left renal vein

  • The lack of effective antireflux valves at the juncture of the testicular vein and renal vein

  • The increased renal vein pressure due to its compression between the superior mesenteric artery and the aorta (ie, nutcracker effect)

Also important is that a one-sided varicocele can often affect the opposite testicle. As many as 35%-40% of men with a palpable left varicocele may actually have bilateral varicoceles that are discovered upon examination.

Varicoceles are extremely rare in patients younger than 9 years. The prevalence of varicoceles in individuals aged 10-19 years is reported to be approximately 15% and is similar to the prevalence reported for adults. However, because most adolescent varicoceles are asymptomatic, the true incidence of adolescent varicoceles is likely higher. Some studies have noted that adolescent varicoceles are more commonly found in normal and underweight children than in obese children.

For more on the etiology and epidemiology of varicoceles, read here.

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