Testicular Biopsy is a surgical procedure that takes a sample of the tissue from your testicles for laboratory analysis. The testicles are the male reproductive organs that are located in the scrotum of the male body. The testicles include fleshy tissue that hangs from behind and under the penis.
Purpose of Testicular Biopsy
The testicles produce sperm and testosterone- the male sex hormone. The purpose of the surgical procedure is to:
- diagnose the reason behind male infertility
- diagnose the location of a lump in the testes
- diagnose the condition of the lump in the testes
- collect sperm for IVF- in vitro fertilization
Procedures for Testicular Biopsy
Percutaneous Biopsy: In this procedure, a thin needle is inserted through the skin which has a syringe at the end to collect testicular tissue. This procedure is a fine needle biopsy as it doesn’t require any incision or stitches. A variation of this technique is also known as a core needle biopsy in which a hollow spring-loaded needle is used to extract a cylinder of cells. This extract is called a core sample as it is larger than the sample obtained through a fine needle biopsy.
Open Biopsy: Also known as surgical biopsy, in this procedure, the doctor begins by cutting the skin. This cut is also made in the testicle and then a small sample is taken from that opening. Once the sample is extracted, stitches are performed to close the cuts.
Diagnostic Use of Testicular Biopsy
The main purpose behind testicular biopsy is to diagnose male infertility. However, before the biopsy is performed, the doctor will conduct the initial fertility evaluation by checking the medical history, conducting blood tests, and a semen analysis.
The major uses of testicular biopsy are:
- extract sperm for IVF when the sperm is not present in the semen but is being made in the testicles
- check if the sperm production is due to a blockage
- diagnose testicular cancer
- determine the cause of a lump in the testicles
Risk of Testicular Biopsy
Testicular biopsy doesn’t carry any risk of erection or fertility problems and can help resolve your infertility problems.
The two potentially great risks involved with this biopsy are prolonged bleeding and infection post-procedure. Other than this, one needs to inform the doctor if they experience any of the following:
- fevers or chills
- excessive pain and swelling in the scrotum
- hematoma- a collection of blood under the skin
- bleeding at the biopsy site that soaks up the bandage
Any risk of internal damage to the testicles or areas nearby is very rare.
How to prepare for a Testicular Biopsy?
There isn’t much which one needs to do for this test. The patient needs to tell the doctor about any on-going medications he has been taking and whether they can be used before and during the test.
Also, if the surgery is being performed on general amnesia, the patient will need to fast from food and drinks for at least 8 hours before the test.
The biopsy takes anywhere between 15-20 minutes. The doctor can also give you a sedative to help you relax for the test.
Recovery from Testicular Biopsy
Recovery from this biopsy includes a set of instructions given by the doctor that needs to be followed. These may include:
- refraining from any sexual activity for up to 2 weeks
- keeping the biopsy site dry with no washing preferably
- wearing an athletic supporter for the next several days
- no aspirin for at least a week
Swelling and discomfort over the next few days post-biopsy are completely normal. There may also be a small amount of bleeding along with some routine side effects which your doctor will bring to your knowledge.
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Is the egg retrieval painful?
During egg retrieval, you will be sedated and given medication so that you don’t’ feel the pain. After the surgery/procedure, you may feel cramps, soreness, or fullness.
Is bleeding expected after egg retrieval?
After egg retrieval, vaginal bleeding/spotting is common. It is similar to bleeding in periods. In case of excess bleed, you should contact the doctor immediately.
How long do I have to stay in the hospital during and after the procedure?
IVF Procedure does not require any hospitalization. It only requires frequent visits from time to time.
How soon can I return to normal life after IVF?
Once the embryo transfer is done, you can resume your normal life. You may experience cramps because there might be a minor swelling in the ovaries. Stick to a mild routine and avoid exertion as it may affect your chances of getting pregnant.