Venography of 44 recurrent varicoceles in 37 patients demonstrated different anatomical patterns of recurrence in surgical patients (26) compared to those treated by percutaneous balloon occlusion (18). The 3 types of patterns identified included parallel, renal vein and transcrotal collateral pathways. Virtually all surgical recurrences were owing to mid retroperitoneal (27 per cent) or low (inguinal) parallel collaterals (58 per cent). The majority of post-balloon occlusion recurrences were due to either high retroperitoneal parallel (44 per cent) or renal vein collaterals (28 per cent). Surgical recurrences were treated easily with percutaneous balloon occlusion. However, 39 per cent of the patients with recurrences following balloon embolization were not anatomical candidates for repeat percutaneous occlusion. We conclude that venous collaterals are identified easily by renal venography, and knowledge of these collaterals is helpful in planning further surgical or radiological treatment.
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