Surgicalprocedures of sperm retrieval in azoospermia Approachtowards treatment of male infertility was revolutionised by the introduction ofnovel method of ICSI in 1992 . (1 2). The use of surgical sperm retrieval from thetestis or epididymis associated to ICSI has given the chance for azoospermicpatients of fathering their own genetic children. Asingle embryo can be injected intoan oocyte which resulted in normal fertilization, embryonic development and implantation.source of sperm can be preferentially by ejaculation or from epididymis ortestis in azoospermic males irrespective of obstructive or non obstructive aetiology.This process opened up an unique opportunity for azoospermic male for asuccessful parenthood putting an end for their never ending agony of beingchildless for the rest of their life.
Surgical sperm recovery for ICSI hasbecome an indispensable part of clinical andrology. Spermscan still be retrieved in some cases of non obstructive azoospermia as thetestis persists to possess some isolated foci of active spermatogenesis. Pregnanciesresulting from surgically retrieved sperms were first published by 1993 and 1995(3-4). Anejaculationand azoospermia- A clinical dilemma.Successfulpregnancy is plausible only when intravaginal ejaculation is successful.Primarily this is possible by an intact ejaculatory mechanism which is a neurologic reflex arc which can bedisrupted through any type of trauma or disease causing damage to the CNSand/or peripheral nerves.
Ejaculation may be psychogenic or may result from spinalcord injury or retroperitoneal lymph node dissection. These include 95% ofaetiology followed by diabetic neuropathy , multiple sclerosis, Parkinsondisease, bladder neck surgeries are less encountered causes.Ocassionally drugssuch as antidepressants ,antipsychotics and antihypertensive may causeanejaculation.
Since the outcome of medical treatment for anejaculation isguarded penile vibratory stimulation or electroejaculation is considered thefirst line management than offering surgical sperm retrieval since they are non-invasiveand does not require anaesthesia and they are successful ion 80% of the time 5.often epidydimal ortesticular sperm retrieval are offered initially as facilities of EVS or EJ maynot be available at all centres . Scrotal hematoma and risk of iatrogenic epidydimalobstruction may preclude surgical sperm retrieval being offered as the firstline and should only be indicated when first line non-invasive management fail.It is reasonably good to refer anejaculatory patients especially with spinal cord injuries to tertiary care centreswhere assisted ejaculation and semen cryopreservation facilities are present.Surgicalsperm retrieval may be a treatment option for men with:AbsoluteIndication:1.
An obstruction preventing spermrelease, due to injury or infection.2. Congenital absence of the vas deferens 3. Vasectomy4. Non-obstructive azoospermia – thetesticles are producing such low numbers of sperm that they don’t reach thevas.Relative indictions: 1. Sperms with increased DFI (DNAfragmentation Index).
2. Severe Oligoasthenoteratozoospermia(SOAT)3. Intractable Leucocytospermia. In the first three conditions, sperm are produced by the testes, but are unable to beejaculated primarily due to obstruction of transport or congenital absence of the vasdeference.They can still ejaculate seminal fluidbut this fluid will not contain any sperm. It is possible to collect spermdirectly from the epididymis. most azoospermic patients suffer from primarytesticular ailure(60%).
because these subset of patients do not show any clinicalsigns of obstruction and they are often referred to as non obstructiveazoospermia NOA. However in few cases of azoospermia ensues due to hypogonadotropichypogonadism and not due to obstruction. These patients have an earlymaturation arrest in spermatogenesis and adequate treatment with FSH and humanchorionic gonadotrophins might restore spermatogenesis.Different types of SSR1. Percutaneous epididymal spermaspiration (PESA).2. Microsurgical epididymal spermaspiration (MESA).
3. Testicular sperm aspiration (TESA).4.
Testicular sperm extraction (TESE) -single or multi-site.5. Microscope-assisted testicular spermextraction (MicroTESE).
All theseprocedures can be safely performed as an outpatient basis with effectivepreparation by local anesthesia or under general anesthesia. Preoperative assessment.Pre-operative evaluation consists of recording thepatient’s health and social history, conducting a physical examination,developing a plan of anesthesia care and developing a safe plan for dischargeto home from the practice after recovery from the procedure.1.Percutaneous approaches-(PESA / TESA).Advantages1.Minimal training2. No need for microscopic instruments3.
Percutaneous route more approachable4.No need for sedation.5.Lower complication rate Disadvantages 1. Low yield of sperm retrieved compared with openapproaches. 1. Percutaneous epididymal spermaspiration (PESA)PESA is a needle aspirate of the head of theepididymis for attempted retrieval of more mature, motile sperm.
Glina andcolleagues reported a sperm retrieval rate of 82% patients who underwent PESA,while no complications were reported 6, whilethe complication rate of PESA was 3.4%and included pain, hydrocele, infection, and swelling.(7) Technique: Under local anaesthesiascrotum is initially painted with antibiotic solution followed by repeatpainting with normal saline to remove any residual antibiotic solution. Ondependant hand supports the testis and the head of the epididymis is palpatedand stabilised with thumb and forefinger. Aspiration of epididymis is performed with a 27. G needlemounted with tuberculin syringe containing culture medium. With the needle stillwithin the epididymis the syringe is advanced in different direction whilemaintaining continuous suction. The needle is gently withdrawn from theepididymis while the suction is released.
The aspirate is then emptied into thedish containing the sperm wash media to be examined under microscope for thepresence of any sperms which can be eventually cryopreserved for future useduring an ICSI. A repeat attempt at an aspiate is made in case of negativeaspiration but at a different location along the epididymal head and repeatedon the contralateral testis. Since this is a blind procedure sometimes severalattempts are required before good quality sperm are found. Advantages Disadvantages · Fast and low cost.
· Minimal morbidity, repeatable. · No microsurgical expertise required. · Few instruments and materials. · No open surgical exploration.
· Few sperm retrieved. · Limited number of sperm for cryopreservation. · Fibrosis and obstruction at the aspiration site. · Risk of hematoma/spermatocele .
Percutaneousepididymal sperm aspiration (PESA) Testicular sperm aspirationTESA is a needle aspirate of seminiferous tubulesmost often containing only non-motile or immature sperm first described in Israel by Lewin andcolleagues in 1996 ( 8 ) . It can be considered “therapeutic” for cases of electivecryopreservation of retrieved sperms or can be coordinated and concurrent with theirfemale partner’s egg retrieval for ICSI. Occasionally, TESA doesn’t provideenough tissue/sperm and an open testis biopsy is needed. TESA is also of “diagnostic”utility when the diagnosis of azoospermia is not certain of obstructive or non- obstructive aetiology anda focussed counselling and plan oftreatment can be laid down for subsequent sperm retrieval. Jensen et al.
reported a spermretrieval rate of 100% in OA, with a complication rate of 3% ( 9)Technique: Under spermatic cord block of short generalanesthesia scrotum is initially painted with antibiotic solution followed byrepeat painting with normal saline to remove any residual antibiotic solution.Testicularsperm aspiration can be done either by 18G butterfly needle attached to a 20 mlsyringe containing 1 ml of culture media. Multi-quadrant testicular tissue aspiration can be done by applyingcontinuous suction and aspirating the testicular fluid and tissue. The aspirated tissue is thenprocessed in the embryology laboratory and the sperm cells extracted are usedfor ICSI. The aspirated tissue is then processed in the embryology laboratoryand the sperm cells extracted are used for ICSI or cryopreservation.
In case ofsample collection stress syndromes or anejacualtion TESA is a quick way forsperm retrieval in cases of known spermatogenesis on the day of oocyteretrieval. Testicular sperm aspiration Advantages Disadvantages · Fast and low cost. · Minimal morbidity, repeatable. · No microsurgical expertise required. · Few instruments and materials. · No open surgical exploration. · blind procedure · damage to tunical blood vessel and hematocele formation. · Few sperm retrieved.
· Limited number of sperm for cryopreservation. · Fibrosis and obstruction at the aspiration site. · Risk of hematoma/spermatocele . Percutaneousvasal sperm aspiration (PVSA) Not very popular amongreproductive endocrinologist is most widely utilised among cases of obstructivelesions of vas deference resulting from herniorrhaphyp surgery , vasectomy orejaculatory duct obstruction. Because it is not widely performed, a standard technique ofPVSA is relatively unknown. First described by Qiu and colleagues(10) The vas deferens was held between the surgeon’s thumb andforefinger and fixed under the scrotal skin or exposed by a paramedian incision. The vas deferens is then cannulated by by using a 21-gauge sharp needle, and a23-gauge blunt tip needle with a central hole and a side hole was introducedthrough the sharp needle in the direction of the epididymis.
The blunt-tippedneedle was connected to a 10-mL syringe with 1.0 mL of sperm culture. Alternativelyvasotomy or partial vasectomy can be performed for successful cannulation. Thesperm preparation medium was pushed into the vas deferens approximately 0.2 to0.
3 mL, suction was applied to the syringe, and the needle was withdrawn graduallyto a point at which segments of fluid from the vas entered the spermpreparation medium (i.e., the fluid became turbid). A small drop of fluid wassmeared onto a slide, and routine semen analysis was performed immediately. Open surgical approaches to surgical sperm retrieval .
Microsurgicalepididymal sperm aspiration (MESA)First reported by Temple-Smith et al , MESA was an endeavour atretrieving more quality sperms in consideration against testicular sperms. Thiswas conclusively proved by major studies which resulted in superior outcomes inICSI with epidydimal sperms against testicular sperms (11) Several differenttechniques for MESA that have been reported in literature (12,13 14). Extracting sperm from their storage sitein the epididymis is an excellent way of getting sperm to use for IVF inpatients with a blockage in the reproductive tract.
Under spinal anesthesia witha median incision healthier testicle is delivered out while testis and epididymis is exposed. With the useof operating microscope and under magnification epididymotomy is performed ,identifiying a suitable dialated epididymal tubule for sperm aspirationpreferably at distal end of epiidymis where the sperms have completedmaturation process and have acquired motility while their transport as a partof normal sperm development. More frequently multiple foci aspiration may benecessary to evaluate before motile sperm are identified.