The management of varicocele is still controversial in spite of its high incidence (15%) in prepubertal boys and young adults and although it is believed to represent a major contributing factor to male subfertility. Fifty boys between 6 and 14 years of age were operated on for left varicocele, and a long segment of the left internal spermatic vein was excised. Thirty-four of them underwent preoperative retrograde left renal venography and pressure readings in both renal veins and inferior vena cava. In all 50 patients, intraoperative antegrade (via internal spermatic vein) left renal venography was performed. This examination revealed impaired renal venous drainage in 38 patients (group A) and normal venous return through the left renal vein in 12 patients (group B). In all 34 patients (from both groups) on whom retrograde venography was performed, there was marked renospermatic reflux. The pressure readings in the left renal vein were significantly increased in group A only. Our data strongly suggest that left varicocele is caused by renospermatic venous reflux and that this condition is probably irreversible. The reflux in group A is explained by the impaired venous drainage through the left renal vein. In group B, it is our impression that the reflux is a result of a congenitally valveless left internal spermatic vein. If varicocele is indeed a major cause for infertility, then our data logically point toward surgery.
- renospermatic venous reflux