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Varicocele repair for nonobstructive azoospermia

Mehta, Akanksha; Goldstein, Marc

doi: 10.1097/MOU.0b013e328358e27b
VARICOCELE: STANDARD AND ALTERNATIVE INDICATIONS FOR REPAIR: Edited by Peter N. Schlegel
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Purpose of review To evaluate the role of varicocelectomy in the management of patients with varicoceles and nonobstructive azoospermia and to review predictors of successful outcomes.

Recent findings Several small, retrospective, noncontrolled studies have documented return of sperm to the ejaculate in up to 56% of men with nonobstructive azoospermia (NOA) following varicocele repair. Additionally, a recent meta-analysis has reported a 6% spontaneous pregnancy rate in amongst NOA patients who underwent varicocele repair, regardless of surgical technique. Although these observations are promising, evidence for whether or not varicocele repair significantly improves spermatogenesis within an impaired testicle is conflicting. No clear predictors of success following varicocele repair have been identified, but a certain level of spermatogenesis on testicular biopsy appears to be necessary for a desirable outcome after varicocele repair.

Summary The role of varicocelectomy for the treatment on NOA is controversial. Prospective, controlled studies are needed in order to define the true benefit of varicocele repair in men with NOA, in terms of improvement in semen parameters, testicular sperm retrieval rates, and pregnancy outcomes.

Department of Urology and Center for Male Reproductive Medicine and Surgery, Weill Cornell Medical College, New York, USA

Correspondence to Akanksha Mehta, MD, Department of Urology, Weill Cornell Medical College, 525 East 68th Street, New York, NY 10021, USA.Tel: +1 212 746 5470; fax: +1 212 746 0997; e-mail: akm9009@med.cornell.edu

© 2012 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.