Efficacy of varicocelectomy in the treatment of hypogonadism in subfertile males with clinical varicocele: A meta-analysis

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To reassess the efficacy of varicocelectomy in the treatment of hypogonadism in subfertile males, we carried out a meta-analysis of clinical trials and retrospective studies that compared the pre-operative and postoperative serum testosterone. We searched Embase and PubMed (1980 to May 2016) for studies. Eight studies and 712 patients were included. The combined analysis of seven studies discovered that the mean serum testosterone of patients post-operation improved by 34.3 ng/dl (95% CI: 22.57–46.04, p < .00001, I2 = 0.0%) compared with their pre-operative levels. In subgroup analysis, testosterone improvements in the hypogonadal treated subgroup were more significant (improved by 123 ng/dl, 95% CI: 114.61–131.35, p < .00001, I2 = 37%) than in the eugonadals, or the untreated controls. In an analysis of surgery versus untreated control (three studies included), results showed that mean testosterone among hypogonadals increased by 105.65 ng/dl (95% CI: 77.99–133.32), favouring varicocelectomy, as the differences were significant (p < .00001), However, there were insignificant differences in eugonadals (p = .36). In conclusion, varicocelectomy significantly improved testosterone in hypogonadal men with subfertility. Active surgical treatment of varicocele might have a benefit of maintaining healthy androgen levels in subfertile men.

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