Color Doppler ultrasonography as a routine clinical examination in male infertility

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Abstract

Aim

We assessed the value of scrotal color Doppler ultrasonography as a routine examination in infertile men.

Methods

Color Doppler ultrasonography was performed in 545 infertile men with a mean age of 35.8 years to detect intrascrotal abnormalities. Findings were compared with those of physical examination.

Results

Intrascrotal abnormalities were detected by ultrasonography in 65.3% of patients. Of 374 abnormalities, 58.3% were undetected by physical examination. Left varicocele was found in 313 patients (57.4%); testicular microlithiasis in 30 (5.5%); epididymal cyst in 21 (3.9%); right varicocele in 4 (0.8%); and testicular cysts in 3 (0.6%). One occurrence each (0.2%) was found for testicular tumor, intrascrotal hemangioma, and hydrocele of the spermatic cord. Compared to ultrasonography, sensitivity in detecting left varicocele by physical examination was 58.4%; specificity, 79.3%; accuracy, 67.3%; and positive predictive value, 79.3%. Venous diameters in the pampiniform plexus were 3 mm or more in 61.5% of 130 subclinical left varicoceles. Of 30 patients with testicular microlithiasis, 14 had varicocele, 2 had epididymal cyst, s 3 had a history of mumps orchitis, 1 had retractile testis, and 1 had a history of orchiectomy for contralateral testicular tumor.

Conclusions

The routine Color Doppler ultrasonography is valuable for diagnosing scrotal abnormalities in infertile men, frequently detecting non-palpable lesions.

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