The significance of sperm heads and tails within the vasal fluid during vasectomy reversal - Abstract

INTRODUCTION: The finding of only sperm heads and/or short tails (SHST) during vasectomy reversal (VR) creates a difficult decision for the best method of vasal reconstruction, i.e. vasovasostomy (VV) or epididymovasostomy (EV).

Using outcome analyses, we report the impact of SHST alone and combined with qualitative analysis of gross fluid quality in predicting successful VR.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: The records of 356 men who underwent VR by a single surgeon from 2005 to 2012 were retrospectively reviewed. Intravasal fluid was assessed for gross quality (i.e., clear, opaque, pasty or creamy) as well as microscopic composition (i.e., motile or non-motile whole sperm, SHST or no sperm). The post-operative patency rates and semen analysis parameters were assessed.

RESULTS: Fourteen men (3.9%) demonstrated SHST bilaterally in the vasal fluid. The median duration from vasectomy was 6.0 years (interquartile range 4.0-9.8). Bilateral VVs were performed on 12 men (86%), while two men (14%) had a unilateral VV and a contralateral EV. Of the 26 vasa undergoing VR, the majority of the fluid quality was classified as creamy (n = 20 vasa, 76.9%). The remaining fluid was classified as pasty (n = 3 vasa, 11.5%), opaque (n = 2 vasa, 7.7%) and clear (n = 1 vasa, 3.8%). In cases undergoing bilateral VV with only SHST, patency rates were 90.9%, and both cases of unilateral EV were patent (100%).

CONCLUSIONS: VV was successful in 90.9% of patients undergoing VR in the setting of SHST alone. Even when creamy or pasty fluid was present, the results surpassed the expected patency rate for an EV. Therefore, the presence of only SHST, regardless of fluid quality, should not dissuade the surgeon from performing a VV.

Written by:
Smith RP, Khanna A, Kovac JR, Badhiwala N, Coward R, Lipshultz LI.   Are you the author?
Department of Urology, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA, USA; Scott Department of Urology, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX, USA.

Reference: Indian J Urol. 2014 Apr;30(2):164-8.
doi: 10.4103/0970-1591.126898

PubMed Abstract
PMID: 24744514 Vasectomy Section