Microsurgical spermatocelectomy: technique and outcomes of a novel surgical approach

Eric C Kauffman, Howard H Kim, Cigdem Tanrikut, Marc Goldstein
Journal of Urology 2011, 185 (1): 238-42

PURPOSE: A microsurgical approach to spermatocelectomy theoretically minimizes the risk of injury to the epididymis and testicular blood supply. We present the technique of microsurgical spermatocelectomy and report our perioperative and recurrence outcomes.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: In a 15-year period 23 men with a total of 36 epididymal cystic masses underwent microsurgical resection with confirmation of spermatocele diagnosis by intraoperative identification of sperm in the cyst fluid. We reviewed pathology reports for resected epididymal tissue in the spermatocele specimen. Postoperative outcome measures included complications, sperm count changes, improvement in pain and fertility, and cyst recurrence.

RESULTS: Mean spermatocele size was 5.0 cm (range 1 to 15). Common indications for surgery included pain in 35% of cases, infertility in 30% and the 2 conditions in 13%. A total of 13 patients (57%) underwent simultaneous procedures for concomitant varicocele and/or hydrocele with a mean overall surgical time of 152 minutes. A single scrotal hematoma managed conservatively was the only postoperative complication. There was no case of infection. Avoidance of inadvertent epididymal resection was shown by absent epididymal tissue in each of the 36 spermatocele pathology specimens. Also, no patient with preoperative and postoperative semen analyses available experienced a decreased sperm count, confirming the avoidance of iatrogenic epididymal tubule obstruction. At a mean followup of 17.3 months no man had cyst recurrence or testicular atrophy and all with preoperative pain reported improvement. One patient with preoperative infertility achieved pregnancy 12 months after surgery.

CONCLUSIONS: Microsurgical spermatocelectomy is safe and effective with a minimal risk of epididymal injury, testicular atrophy and recurrence.

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