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Do Mountain Bikers have a Higher Risk of Scrotal Disorders than On-Road Cyclists?

Mitterberger, Michael MD*; Pinggera, Germer M MD*; Neuwirt, Hannes MD*; Colleselli, Daniela MD*; Pelzer, Alexandre MD*; Bartsch, Georg MD*; Strasser, Hannes MD*; Gradl, Johann MD; Pallwein, Leo MD; Frauscher, Ferdinand MD

Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine: January 2008 - Volume 18 - Issue 1 - p 49-54
doi: 10.1097/JSM.0b013e31815c042f
Original Research

Objective: To sonographically investigate whether mountain bikers have a higher prevalence of scrotal abnormalities compared with on-road cyclists.

Design: We studied 85 male mountain bikers (mean age: 25 years; range 17-45 years) and 50 male on-road cyclists (mean age: 23 years, range 15-46 years) with regard to scrotal findings on ultrasound (US).

Setting: Medical University Innsbruck, Austria.

Participants: Only males who gave a history of extensive mountain biking or on-road bicycling (2 hours or more per day on 6 days a week with a covered distance of more than 5000 km/year) were entered in our study.

Interventions: In addition to clinical evaluation, a standard ultrasonographic examination of the scrotum was performed using a linear array transducer operating at a frequency of 8.0 MHz (Acuson Sequoia 512).

Main Outcome Measurements: The sonographic findings obtained in mountain bikers were compared with those obtained in on-road cyclists.

Results: Eighty of 85 mountain bikers (94%) and 24 of 50 on-road cyclists (48%) presented with abnormal findings on scrotal US. Abnormal US findings in mountain bikers included scrotoliths in 69 bikers (81%), spermatoceles in 39 bikers (46%), and epididymal calcifications in 34 bikers (40%). US findings in on-road cyclists were scrotoliths in 8 cyclists (16%), spermatoceles in 13 cyclists (26%), and epididymal calcifications in 6 cyclists (12%). The overall number of scrotal abnormalities was significantly greater in mountain bikers than in on-road cyclists (P < 0.001).

Conclusions: Mountain bikers compared with on-road cyclists have shown to be at a higher risk for scrotal disorders on US examination. Not only protective measures but also the awareness of the bikers are required to reduce the potential risk. Further studies should be undertaken to determine the clinical significance of the sonographic changes.

From the Departments of *Urology; and †Radiology, Medical University Innsbruck, Innsbruck, Austria.

Submitted for publication December 7, 2006; accepted July 11, 2007.

Reprints: Michael Mitterberger, MD, Department of Urology Medical University of Innsbruck, Anichstrasse 35, A-6020 Innsbruck, Austria (e-mail:

© 2008 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.