Objectives. To compare, in a retrospective study, the ultrasound findings and hormonal changes after testicular sperm extraction (TESE) using the conventional multiple biopsy approach and the more recent microdissection technique. TESE has been performed using the conventional multiple biopsy approach and the more recent microdissection technique. Methods. A total of 435 men with nonobstructive azoospermia who had undergone 543 TESE attempts were included in the study. The initial 83 attempts were done using the conventional open technique and the remaining 460 attempts were performed by microdissection. The sperm retrieval rates were compared, as were the complication rates as assessed by ultrasound and endocrinologic evaluations between the two groups. Results. The retrieval rate by the conventional technique was 32% and by microdissection was 57% (P = 0.0002). In patients with hypospermatogenesis, the retrieval rate differed between the two approaches (P = 0.03). Ultrasound findings demonstrated fewer acute and chronic changes in the microdissection group than in the conventional group (P <0.05). At 3 to 6 months after surgery, the testosterone levels had dropped to 80% of their pre-TESE levels in both groups (P <0.01). The levels rose back to 85% after 12 months and to 95% after 18 months. The mean follicle-stimulating hormone levels increased from 22 ± 2 to 30 ± 3 IU/L (P = 0.02), and the luteinizing hormone levels increased from 12 ± 2 to 16 ± 2 IU/L (P = 0.2). Conclusions. TESE has effects on testicular function, but the microdissection procedure is relatively safer than the conventional technique and improves the sperm retrieval rate significantly in patients with nonobstructive azoospermia.
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