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Infertility affects men and women. A testicular biopsy is an important tool in diagnosing male infertility.

Due to the high incidence of male factor infertility, it is important to receive an early and optimal diagnosis of conditions that may cause infertility. If pregnancy fails to occur within one year of regular unprotected intercourse or if there are risk factors in the male partner, then an initial screening and male fertility tests such as sperm DNA testing, semen analysis, scrotal ultrasounds and testicular biopsy should be done.

At Footsteps To Fertility Centre, we are dedicated to providing you with the most current and innovative therapies for male reproductive health. Our team collaborates to ensure that patients receive the most comprehensive care available.

Feel free to contact us. We are more than happy to provide families with advanced male fertility care.

Testicular Biopsy

What is a Testicular Biopsy?

A testicular biopsy refers to the removal of a small amount of tissue from the testes for diagnostic or therapeutic purposes.

The two testicles are the male reproductive organs. They produce sperm and the male sex hormone testosterone. The testicles are located in the scrotum, which is the fleshy pouch of tissue that hangs under the penis.

There are two different procedures for a testicular biopsy.

Percutaneous Biopsy

With a percutaneous biopsy, a thin biopsy needle is inserted through the skin. The needle has a syringe on the end to collect the testicular tissue. This procedure does not require an incision or stitches.

Open Biopsy

An open biopsy is also called a surgical biopsy. Your doctor starts by making a cut in the skin. A cut also is made in the testicle. Then a small tissue sample is taken from the opening and stitches are used to close the cuts.

Why is a testicular biopsy performed?

Blood and hormone tests often can identify the causes of low sperm levels. However, when these tests are not conclusive, you may need a testicular biopsy.

A testicular biopsy may be used to:

  • The test is most often done to find the cause of male infertility. It is done when a semen analysis suggests that there is abnormal sperm and other tests have not found the cause. In some cases, sperm obtained from a testicular biopsy can be used to fertilize a woman’s egg in the lab in a process called in vitro fertilization.
  • Determine whether sperm production problems are caused by a blockage
  • Retrieve sperm for use in IVF. This is done if sperm are being made in the testicles but are not present in the semen.
  • Diagnose testicular cancer.
  • Determine the cause of a lump in the testicles.

Results of a Testicular Biopsy

Normal results indicate that there is normal sperm development and no cancerous cells are found.

Abnormal results may mean a problem with sperm or hormone function. However, the biopsy may be able to find the cause of the problem.

Causes of an abnormal result include:

  • A cyst-like lump filled with fluid and dead sperm cells (spermatocele)
  • Orchitis – inflammation of one or both of the testicles.
  • Testicular cancer

Recovering from a testicular biopsy

After your testicular biopsy, your specialist will give instructions to help you heal and remain comfortable depending on the type of biopsy.

You may be advised to:

  • refrain from sexual activity for one to two weeks
  • wear an athletic supporter for several days
  • keep the site of the biopsy dry, and avoid washing it for several days
  • It is normal to have swelling, discoloration, and discomfort for a few days. A small amount of bleeding is also common.

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