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Repetitive percutaneous epididymal sperm aspirations (PESA's) resulted in asthenospermia and significant inflammation
SUNY Upstate Medical University, Syracuse, New York, USA
Oct  2014 (Vol.  21, Issue  5, Pages( 7475 - 7478)
PMID: 25347374


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    In obstructive azoospermia, choosing a sperm retrieval method for intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) depends on the preference and expertise of both the urologist and the reproductive endocrinologist. Generally, a percutaneous epididymal sperm aspiration (PESA) is attempted first. Not uncommonly, multiple PESA’s are necessary. This study utilizes a rat model to provide an understanding of sperm parameter and histological changes resulting from repetitive PESA procedures.


    A cohort of 30 male Wistar rats of reproductive age (68-73 days) was divided into three groups of 10 (G1-G3). All three groups underwent a left epididymal head PESA using a 253/8 gauge needle. The untouched right epididymis acted as the control. At 14 day intervals, G2 and G3 underwent a second and third PESA respectively. Fourteen days after the final PESA, both epididymides and a 1 cm segment of both vas deferentia were harvested for sperm and histological evaluations.


    The percentage of vas specimens with a sperm count ≥ 5 x104/cc was 100%, 22%, and 20% for the G1, G2, G3 PESA samples respectively. Moreover, the percentage of the vas specimens with sperm motility ≥ 10% was 90%, 22%, and 20%, respectively. Epididymal granulomas were not seen in the control side, but formed in 70%, 100%, and 80% of G1, G2, G3 PESA specimens, respectively.


    In a rat model, PESA resulted in significant epididymal inflammation and a reduction in both sperm concentration and motility.