The Significance of Elevated Scrotal Temperature in an Adolescent with a Varicocele
Simultaneous measurements of left and right scrotal, and axillary skin temperatures were recorded in 58 consecutive adolescents (mean age 14.4 years) with a grade II-III left sided varicocele, and nine control adolescents without genital pathology (mean age 15.7 years). Left and right testicular volumes were determined in both groups. The adolescents with a varicocele had a significant bilateral elevation of the scrotal temperatures compared to the control subjects. This relative hyperthermia was present in both supine and standing positions. The mean left scrotal temperature of varicocele patients was significantly higher in the standing position than in the supine position, which may reflect the dependent venous filling of the varicocele. Those varicocele patients who maintained a left scrotal temperature at least 1.4°C cooler than axillary did not have significant left testicular volume loss, whereas those whose left temperature was approximately equal to axillary did have significant growth retardation of the left testis. Following successful varicocele surgery, left scrotal temperatures were significantly cooler, and statistically indistinguishable from controls. The left testicular volumes were also significantly improved with respect to corresponding right testicular volumes. These observations suggest that adolescents with a moderate to large left varicocele have a significant bilateral loss of testicular thermoregulation. In those individuals with a significantly warmer left hemiscrotum, there is a definite increased potential for left testicular volume loss. Varicocele surgery can reverse this process.
KeywordsTesticular Volume Axillary Temperature Left Testis Scrotal Temperature Testicular Blood Flow
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