OBJECTIVE: To report our experience of microsurgical subinguinal varicocelectomy in boys aged ≤18 years. PATIENTS AND METHODS: Boys aged ≤18 years treated with microsurgical varicocelectomy between 1996 and 2000 at one institution were retrospectively reviewed. Indications for surgery included ipsilateral testicular atrophy, large varicocele or pain. Microsurgery was assisted by an operating microscope (×10-25) allowing preservation of the lymphatics, and the testicular and cremasteric arteries. Patient age, varicocele grade, complications and follow-up interval were recorded. RESULTS: In all there were 97 microsurgical subinguinal varicocelectomies (23 bilateral) in 74 boys (mean age 14.7 years). Left-sided varicoceles were significantly larger (mean grade 2.9) than right-sided (mean grade 1.4) varicoceles. The mean follow-up was 9.6 months. There were four complications: two hydroceles, of which one resolved spontaneously after 4 months; one patient had persistent orchialgia that resolved after 8 months; and one developed hypertrophic scarring at the inguinal incision site. There were no infections, haematomas or intraoperative injuries to the vas deferens or testicular arteries. All boys were discharged home on the day of surgery. CONCLUSIONS: Microsurgical subinguinal varicocelectomy in boys is a safe, minimally invasive and effective means of treating varicoceles. Compared with published results of the retroperitoneal mass ligation technique, which has a 15% overall complication rate and a 7-9% hydrocele occurrence rate, the microsurgical subinguinal approach appears to offer less morbidity, with a 1% hydrocele rate. We consider that microsurgical subinguinal varicocelectomy offers the best results with lower morbidity than other techniques.