Imaging and angiography in male factor infertility

Ultrasound imaging and angiography play a crucial role in the diagnosis and treatment of men with subfertility. The most commonly used imaging modality is ultrasound (US), which can be used for diagnostic purposes or to aid in treatment.

Scrotal US can be used to document varicoceles in subfertile men in the context of difficult examination or for confirmation before treatment. Spectral Doppler, sonoelastography, and power Doppler have aided in the evaluation and treatment of azoospermia and oligospermia. They have proven useful in the detection of spermatogenesis and sperm retrieval. In the population with congenital Wolffian duct abnormalities, renal US can evaluate renal anomalies. In subfertile men with low ejaculate volume and oligospermia or azoospermia transrectal US can be used to evaluate and assist in treatment of ejaculatory duct obstruction. Non-US-based modalities are also commonly used in evaluating and treating men with subfertility. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) can be used for evaluation of pituitary adenomas in hypogonadism. More invasive imaging modalities used during treatment of subfertile men include vasography for vasal obstruction, venography and angioembolization for varicocele, and US-guided needle placement for testis-sparing surgery. Male subfertility is a complex problem and the use of imaging techniques is often essential in providing accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment.

Fertility and sterility. 2016 Apr 20 [Epub ahead of print]

Michael Jurewicz, Bruce R Gilbert

Department of Urology, University of Miami Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine, Miami, Florida. Smith Institute for Urology, Hofstra Northwell School of Medicine, New Hyde Park, New York.