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Reprod Fertil Dev. 2014 Mar;26(3):485-90. doi: 10.1071/RD12368.

Prognostic factors for successful varicocelectomy to treat varicocele-associated male infertility.

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  • 1Department of Urology, Chang Gung Memorial Hospital at Linkou, 5# Fusing Street, Gueishan Township, Taoyuan County 333, Taiwan (R.O.C.).


The present study identified prognostic factors for successful varicocelectomy for the treatment of varicocele-induced male infertility. All varicoceles were diagnosed and graded by physical examination and ultrasound. Pre- and postoperative analysis of semen specimens measured sperm density, morphology and motility. 'Responder' and 'non-responder' status was determined by semen analyses at 3, 6 and 12 months postoperatively. Varicocele Grades 1, 2 and 3 were found in 16, 36 and 28 patients, respectively; 49 patients (61.3%) were responders based on improved seminograms. Significant postoperative increases were noted in sperm density (from 18.20 ± 14.76 × 10(6) to 32.36 ± 24.81 × 10(6)mL(-1); P<0.001), sperm morphology (from 57.21 ± 17.35% to 62.66 ± 15.18%; P=0.006) and percentage motility (from 29.89 ± 14.71% to 50.92 ± 19.30%; P<0.001). Multivariate logistic regression indicated that age (odds ratio (OR) 0.56; P<0.001) and preoperative sperm density (OR 1.22; P=0.001) had significant unfavourable and favourable associations, respectively, with the likelihood of successful varicocelectomy. Furthermore, a preoperative sperm density of 12 × 10(6)mL(-1) as a cut-off point was able to predict successful varicocelectomy with a sensitivity of 77.6% and specificity of 77.4% (area under the curve=0.85; P<0.001; 95% confidence interval 0.76-0.92). Age and preoperative sperm density are prognostic factors for successful varicocelectomy. The results of the present study may allow clinicians to predict surgical improvement in fertility in patients with varicocele.

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