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Cytojournal. 2011;8:24. doi: 10.4103/1742-6413.91244. Epub 2011 Dec 27.

Testicular touch preparation cytology in the evaluation of male infertility.

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  • 1Department of Pathology, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA, USA.



Male infertility is traditionally evaluated by tissue core biopsies of the testes. Touch preparations (TP) of these biopsies have been infrequently used. The aim of this study is to report our experience with using testicular biopsy TP for the evaluation of male infertility.


A retrospective search was performed for cases of testes biopsies with concurrent TP. These cases were evaluated for clinical information, specimen adequacy, and cytological-histological correlation.


A total of 39 cases were identified from men with a mean age of 34 years (range 23 to 50 years). TP slides were satisfactory for evaluation in 31 (89%) cases, and less than optimal in four due to low cellularity, obscuring blood or air drying artifact. Cytopathology showed concordance with the biopsy in almost all cases. In one discordant case where the biopsies showed no active spermatogenesis, a rare sperm were identified on the TP.


TP of the testis is a helpful adjunct to biopsy because of its ability to clearly evaluate all stages of spermatogenesis. These data demonstrate that TP cytopathology of the testes in our experience has an excellent correlation with both normal testicular biopsies and those showing pathological spermatogenesis, and in rare cases may provide added benefit in evaluating the presence of spermatogenesis for male infertility. Albeit uncommon, cytopathologists may be required to identify and evaluate spermatogenic elements in cytology specimens being submitted from men with infertility.


Cytology; infertility; spermatogenesis; testis; touch preparation

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