Article Abstract

Effects of varicocelectomy on serum testosterone

Authors: Patrick Whelan, Laurence Levine

Abstract

Varicocele is most often surgically repaired due to male infertility, however, has recently been linked to low serum testosterone. This paper serves to review the current literature regarding varicocele and its subsequent repair on serum testosterone. Twenty-eight human studies were identified with fifteen showing improved serum testosterone after repair. The majority of the studies that demonstrated improvement had preoperative testosterone levels that were low or below normal. Additionally, multiple well-designed studies with control groups not undergoing surgical repair demonstrated significant difference between groups. This improvement was less observed in studies with normal preoperative serum testosterone. A majority of these patients studied were presenting for infertility. It remains to be determined if these findings can be reproduced in men without infertility. The findings suggest that microsurgical varicocele repair can improve serum testosterone in men with low levels preoperatively in appropriately counseled men. It remains to be seen whether varicocele repair can help prevent the development of low testosterone in the future or which patients are at risk of developing low testosterone due to varicocele.