Navigation Links
Minimally Invasive Treatment Improves Male Fertility

A minimally invasive treatment for a common cause of male infertility can significantly improve a couple’s chances for pregnancy, according to a new study published in the August issue of Radiology.

Oak Brook, Ill. (PRWEB) July 22, 2008 -- A minimally invasive treatment for a common cause of male infertility can significantly improve a couple’s chances for pregnancy, according to a new study published in the August issue of Radiology. The study, conducted at the University of Bonn in Germany, also found that the level of sperm motility prior to treatment is a key predictor of success.

“Venous embolization, a simple treatment using a catheter through the groin, can help to improve sperm function in infertile men,” said lead author Sebastian Flacke, M.D., Ph.D., now an associate professor of radiology at the Tufts University School of Medicine, director of noninvasive cardiovascular imaging and vice chair for research and development in the department of radiology at the Lahey Clinic in Burlington, Mass. “With the patients’ improved sperm function, more than one-quarter of their healthy partners were able to become pregnant.”

Normally, blood flows to the testicles and returns to the heart via a network of tiny veins that have a series of one-way valves to prevent the blood from flowing backward to the testicles. If the valves that regulate the blood flow from these veins become defective, blood does not properly circulate out of the testicles, causing swelling and a network of tangled blood vessels in the scrotum called a varicocele, or varicose vein.

Varicoceles are relatively common, affecting approximately 10 percent to 15 percent of the adult male population in the U.S. According to the National Institutes of Health, most cases occur in young men between the ages of 15 and 25. Many varicoceles cause no symptoms and are harmless. But sometimes a varicocele can cause pain, shrinkage or fertility problems.

The traditional treatment for problematic varicoceles has been open surgery, but recently varicocele embolization has emerged as a minimally invasive outpatient alternative. In the procedure, an interventional radiologist inserts a small catheter through a nick in the skin at the groin and uses
x-ray guidance to steer it into the varicocele. A tiny platinum coil and a few milliliters of an agent to ensure the occlusion of the gonadic vein are then inserted through the catheter. Recovery time is minimal, and patients typically can return to work the next day.

Dr. Flacke and colleagues set out to identify predictors of pregnancy after embolization of varicoceles in infertile men. The study included 223 infertile men, ages 18-50, with at least one varicocele. All of the men had healthy partners with whom they were trying to achieve a pregnancy.

In the study, 226 of the patients’ 228 varicoceles were successfully treated with embolization. A semen analysis performed on 173 patients three months after the procedure showed that, on average, sperm motility and sperm count had significantly improved. Six months later, 45 couples, or 26 percent, reported a pregnancy. A high level of sperm motility before the procedure was identified as the only significant pre-treatment factor associated with increasing the odds of successful post-treatment pregnancy.

“Embolization of varicoceles in infertile men may be considered a useful adjunct to in-vitro fertilization,” Dr. Flacke said.


  • Embolization of testicular varicose veins in infertile men with healthy partners resulted in pregnancies among 26 percent of the couples within six months after treatment.
  • Varicoceles affect 10 percent to 15 percent of adult men.
  • Embolization is a minimally invasive outpatient procedure.
  • Sperm motility prior to treatment of varicoceles in infertile men is a leading predictor of pregnancy after a successful embolization.

“Embolization of Varicoceles: Pre-treatment Sperm Motility Predicts Later Pregnancy in Partners of Infertile Men.” Collaborating with Dr. Flacke were Michael Schuster, M.D., Attila Kovacs, M.D., Marcus von Falkenhausen, M.D., Holger M. Strunk, M.D., Gerhard Haidl, M.D., and Hans Schild, M.D. Journal attribution requested.

Radiology is edited by Herbert Y. Kressel, M.D., Harvard Medical School, Boston, Mass., and owned and published by the Radiological Society of North America, Inc. (

The Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) is an association of more than 41,000 radiologists, radiation oncologists, medical physicists and related scientists committed to excellence in patient care through education and research. (

For patient-friendly information on embolization, visit

Contact: RSNA Media Relations: 1-630-590-7762

Linda Brooks
lbrooks @

Maureen Morley
mmorley @

# # #

Read the full story at

Source: PRWeb
Copyright©2008 Vocus, Inc.
All rights reserved

Related medicine news :

1. Minimally Invasive Heart Surgery Research Wins N.I.H. Award
2. Novadaq launches PINPOINT: Companys first minimally invasive imaging system
3. Published Results Using AtriCure Minimally Invasive Products
4. Awake the Movie Highlights the Need for Goldilocks Anesthesia, Says Dr. Barry L. Friedberg, Developer of Bispectral Index (BIS) Monitored Propofol Ketamine Sedation, Now Trademarked as Minimally Invasive Anesthesia (MIA)(R)
5. Z-shaped incision enhances minimally-invasive surgery
6. Z-shaped incision enhances minimally invasive surgery
7. Minimally Invasive Surgery Fixes Aneurysms
8. Northwestern Memorials Heart Center Pioneers Minimally Invasive Surgery That Corrects Irregular Heart Beat
9. Minimally invasive fibroid treatment fares well in multicenter trial
10. Women Can Now Learn About Minimally Invasive Gynecologic Treatments at
11. Robot-assisted minimally-invasive CABG surgery
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/30/2015)... Caicos Islands, BWI (PRWEB) , ... December 01, 2015 , ... ... Recently Caribbean Journal, one of the leading digital news sites highlighting Caribbean destinations, ... reason? The weather. While much of North America shivers under chilly grey skies ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... ... 01, 2015 , ... Live Very Well is excited to ... on . The multi-carrier insurance exchange platform offers individual vision and ... to compare, quote and match plans to meet their needs. , Beginning ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... ... November 30, 2015 , ... ... four states in the U.S. require dental technicians to be certified or obtain ... industry, NADL created the “What’s In Your Mouth?” campaign to inform dentists that ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... ... November 30, 2015 , ... The world of hair transplants and restoration ... extraction. These techniques and procedures have been in use for many years and are ... Dr. Parsa Mohebi, M.D. has utilized many of these methods over the years, he ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... ... 30, 2015 , ... During the week of Thanksgiving, the ... for its research, education, support, and advocacy efforts. The campaign is held every ... Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation, which also goes by Meso Foundation, holds the ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:11/30/2015)... Nov. 30, 2015 MEDTEC Japan 2016, Asia,s ... is to be held in Tokyo from 20 th  - 22 nd April ... --> -->   --> --> ... the United States . With the aging population and the government ... grow steadily. --> the United States . With the ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... 30, 2015 Diplomat Pharmacy, Inc. (NYSE: ... the Detroit Free Press as a Top Workplace , ... to work for in 2015. ... 100 winners annually, based on employee surveys rating company leadership, ... Workplaces are based solely on employee feedback. The survey is ...
(Date:11/30/2015)...  IBA Molecular North America, Inc. (IBAMNA), a U.S. ... that as of January 1, 2016, it will do ... to rebrand the company reflects a refined vision for ... close relationship with Zevacor Molecular.  Both IBAMNA and Zevacor ... Peter Burke , Vice President Sales ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: