Urol Int 2010 17;84(1):73-7. Epub 2010 Feb 17.
Hellenic Air Force, 120 Flight Training Wing Medical Service, Kalamata, Greece.
Objective: Air Force pilots are subjected to acceleration (G) forces with a known effect upon the vascular system. Specific training and anti-G maneuvers are used to counteract this effect, and allow pilots to operate at the limits of human endurance. The objective of the present study is to determine whether acceleration affects the incidence of varicocele.
Subjects And Methods: The incidence of varicocele during training in 234 Air Force pilots was assessed. Height, weight, BMI and testicular volume were recorded for every participant. A group of 35 pilots with an absence of varicocele, randomly selected, acted as the control group.
Results: Left-sided varicocele was confirmed in 23 (9.8%) pilots. Affected pilots tended to be taller (p = 0.073) and had a smaller mean left testicular volume (p < 0.001) than the control group. Eight cases (35%) were grade I, 10 (43%) were grade II, and 5 (22%) were grade III. For grades I and II, there was a trend for the testicular volume to decrease (p = 0.349 and 0.067, respectively). In grade III varicocele, this difference was statistically significant (p < 0.05).
Conclusions: The incidence of varicocele in fighter pilots during training is not higher than in other groups of the same age. Affected individuals tend to be taller, with ipsilateral testicular hypotrophy.