Time to improvement of semen parameters after microscopic varicocelectomy: When it occurs and its effects on fertility.

While ligation of clinical varicoceles has been clearly shown to improve semen parameters in subfertile men, evidence describing when to expect improvement and the potential effects on fertility following surgery are sparse. A chart review was undertaken to identify men who had undergone a microscopic subinguinal varicocelectomy from January 1, 2006, to June 30, 2018. Semen analyses were reviewed to determine if a significant improvement occurred post-operatively and when the improvement was seen. Pregnancy data were reviewed to determine if fecundity rates were affected by semen parameter improvement or the interval at which improvement occurred. A total of 170 men met criteria for inclusion, including pregnancy data on 140. 69.4% of patients experienced a significant improvement in total progressive sperm count (TPSC), 78.8% of which occurred after 3 months. The overall pregnancy rate was 40.7%. When comparing men whose TPSC improved to those who did not, there was an odds ratio (OR) of 5.89 (2.28-15.28, 0.0003) for achieving pregnancy, while an OR of 2.05 (0.80-5.28, 0.13) was found when comparing pregnancy rates between early and late improvement in semen parameters. Pregnancy rates were not affected by time to improvement, but were higher in men who had a significant improvement in TPSC after surgery.

Andrologia. 2019 Dec 16 [Epub ahead of print]

Graham Luke Machen, Dane Johnson, Melissa A Nissen, Evan Naber, Jay I Sandlow

Department of Urology, Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, WI, USA., Division of Urology, Washington University in St Louis, St Louis, MO, USA.