Testis biopsy findings in the spinal cord injured patient

Sean P. Elliott, Francisco Orejuela, Irvin H. Hirsch, Larry I. Lipshultz, Dolores J. Lamb, Edward D. Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Purpose: Azoospermia after electroejaculation in spinal cord injured men may be due to testicular failure or obstruction. These men can initiate pregnancy with assisted reproductive techniques, such as intracytoplasmic sperm injection, but only if sperm are present in the testis biopsy. We analyzed the histopathology of testis biopsies from spinal cord injured men and assessed whether patient factors were predictive of testis biopsy pathology. Materials and Methods: A total of 50 paraplegic men undergoing testis biopsy were divided into 2 groups based on normal or abnormal testis histopathology. Patient age, post-injury years, level of lesion, hormonal status and semen analysis results were compared. Results: Spermatogenesis was normal in 28 of the 50 patients. Hypospermatogenesis was exhibited in 15, maturation arrest at the spermatid stage in 6 and maturation arrest at the spermatocyte stage in 1 of the 22 abnormal cases. Nevertheless, mature sperm were identified in 43 of 50 biopsies (normal spermatogenesis and hypospermatogenesis). Men with normal spermatogenesis had better forward progression of sperm and a higher testosterone-to-luteinizing hormone ratio. Otherwise, there was no statistically significant correlation between study variables and testis biopsy results. No factors were predictive of testis biopsy histopathology. Conclusions: The documentation of mature sperm in 43 of 50 biopsies from spinal cord injured patients suggests that a high rate of sperm retrieval is possible using testicular sperm extraction if sperm cannot be retrieved from the ejaculate. With intracytoplasmic sperm injection techniques the majority of spinal cord injured men retain fertility potential, even if azoospermic following electroejaculation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)792-795
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Urology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2000


  • Biopsy
  • Electric stimulation
  • Spermatogenesis
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Testis


Dive into the research topics of 'Testis biopsy findings in the spinal cord injured patient'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this