Following microsurgical vasoepididymostomy as many as 85% of men have sperm in the ejaculate, yet only 30 to 50% will spontaneously father children. We examined the possibility that there may be concomitant abnormalities in the prostate and seminal vesicle, which may be associated with low pregnancy rates.Materials and Methods
Transrectal ultrasound was performed in azoospermic men with suspected epididymal obstruction, excluding those who had undergone vasectomy, to identify abnormalities of the seminal vesicles and ejaculatory ducts. Microsurgical vasoepididymostomy was attempted in all men.Results
Transrectal ultrasound revealed ejaculatory duct dilatation in 13 of 40 men (33%), although only 3 had accompanying seminal vesicle dilatation. Two men had atrophic seminal vesicles with normal ejaculatory ducts. At surgery 8 of 40 patients (20%) were deemed to have irreparable conditions. For the 27 men followed at least 6 months postoperatively patency and pregnancy rates were 75 and 22%, respectively. Mean sperm counts plus or minus standard deviation were significantly higher in men without compared to those with seminal vesicle or ejaculatory duct abnormalities (43 +/- 68 versus 5.7 +/- 6.9 x 106 sperm per ml., respectively), and so was the percentage of motile sperm (30 +/- 16% versus 1.2 +/- 2.2%, respectively). Pregnancy rates were also higher in men without (6 of 19, 32%) than with (0 of 8, 0%) seminal vesicle or ejaculatory duct abnormalities.Conclusions
Transrectal ultrasound detected abnormalities of the seminal vesicles and ejaculatory ducts are common in men with suspected epididymal obstruction. These abnormalities are associated with a poor outcome for vasoepididymostomy. We recommended that all men with suspected epididymal obstruction undergo transrectal ultrasound before any attempted reconstruction.