alexa Beneficial effect of microsurgical varicocelectomy is superior for men with bilateral versus unilateral repair.
Reproductive Medicine

Reproductive Medicine

Reproductive System & Sexual Disorders: Current Research

Author(s): Libman J, Jarvi K, Lo K, Zini A

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Abstract PURPOSE: Varicocele represents the most common correctable cause of male infertility, and most reports indicate that varicocelectomy has a beneficial effect on male fertility and pregnancy outcome. Little is known about the differential effect of bilateral, compared to unilateral varicocelectomy, on male fertility potential. MATERIALS AND METHODS: A total of 369 consecutive varicocelectomies were performed for male factor infertility between July 1996 and July 2002. The outcomes measured include postoperative changes in semen parameters, pregnancy rates (assisted and unassisted) and use of assisted reproductive technology (intrauterine insemination and in vitro fertilization with intracytoplasmic sperm injection). RESULTS: There were 157 men who underwent bilateral and 212 who underwent unilateral left varicocelectomy. Both groups had comparable male and female ages, and baseline semen parameters. Semen parameters improved significantly after surgery in the bilateral and unilateral groups. Moreover, the improvement in percent motility was significantly greater in the bilateral compared to the unilateral group (8.0\% +/- 1.7\% compared to 4.4\% +/- 1.5\% improvement, respectively, p <0.01). In addition, the spontaneous pregnancy rate was significantly higher in the bilateral compared to the unilateral group (49\% vs 36\%, respectively, p <0.05). Assisted reproductive technology was comparable in the unilateral and bilateral groups (64\% vs 51\%, respectively, p >0.05). CONCLUSIONS: Our data indicate that bilateral varicocelectomy (for clinically palpable bilateral varicoceles) is associated with a significantly greater improvement in sperm quality (motility) and male fertility potential than unilateral varicocelectomy. The greater improvement in semen parameters and pregnancy outcome associated with bilateral varicocelectomy support the concept of a detrimental dose-effect of varicocele on male fertility potential. This article was published in J Urol and referenced in Reproductive System & Sexual Disorders: Current Research

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