Comprehensive Analysis of Global Research on Human Varicocele: A Scientometric Approach

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World J Mens Health


PURPOSE: This study provides a comprehensive analysis of research trends on the etiology, mechanisms, potential risk factors, diagnosis, prognosis, surgical and non-surgical treatment of varicocele, and clinical outcomes before and after varicocele repair.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: Varicocele studies published between 1988 and 2020 were retrieved from the Scopus database on April 5, 2021. Original studies on human varicocele were included, irrespective of language. Retrieved articles were manually screened for inclusion in various sub-categories. Bibliometric data was subjected to scientometric analysis using descriptive statistics. Network, heat and geographic mapping were generated using relevant software.

RESULTS: In total, 1,943 original human studies on varicocele were published. These were predominantly from the northern hemisphere and developed countries, and published in journals from the United States and Germany. Network map analysis for countries showed several interconnected nodal points, with the USA being the largest, and Agarwal A. from Cleveland Clinic, USA, being a center point of worldwide varicocele research collaborations. Studies of adolescents were underrepresented compared with studies of adults. Studies on diagnostic and prognostic aspects of varicocele were more numerous than studies on varicocele prevalence, mechanistic studies and studies focusing on etiological and risk factors. Varicocele surgery was more investigated than non-surgical approaches. To evaluate the impact of varicocele and its treatment, researchers mainly analyzed basic semen parameters, although markers of seminal oxidative stress are being increasingly investigated in the last decade, while reproductive outcomes such as live birth rate were under-reported in the literature.

CONCLUSIONS: This study analyzes the publication trends in original research on human varicocele spanning over the last three decades. Our analysis emphasizes areas for further exploration to better understand varicocele's impact on men's health and male fertility.

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