Active Surveillance of the Adolescent With Varicocele: Predicting Semen Outcomes From Ultrasound

MS Christman, SA Zderic, DA Canning, TF Kolon

spermatogenesisABSTRACT

PURPOSE
We hypothesized that active surveillance of the adolescent varicocele is not associated with a high prevalence of suboptimal semen analysis and that patients with abnormal semen analysis have smaller testicular volumes and larger volume differentials.

MATERIALS AND METHODS
We conducted an institutional review board approved retrospective cohort study of adolescents with a clinically detected varicocele. Patients were initially observed by serial scrotal ultrasound evaluating testicular size and differential. Semen analysis was routinely collected in Tanner V cases, around age 18 years. Prevalence of normal semen analysis parameters was calculated, and logistic regression was used to model the ability of age at presentation and testicular volume parameters to predict a normal semen analysis.

RESULTS
A cohort of 73 patients underwent surveillance with a mean ± SD age at presentation of 15.5 ± 2.3 years. Median followup was 2.7 years, during which time subjects underwent a median of 3 scrotal ultrasounds. A low total motile count was found in 48 patients (66%). Neither age at presentation nor testicular volume differential could predict normal semen volume, density, sperm motility or total motile count. Total testicular volume from the final ultrasound predicted total motile count (p = 0.008). However, the collective observations of volume during the entire period of surveillance could not predict total motile count (p = 0.847).

CONCLUSIONS
There is a high prevalence of suboptimal semen analysis in adolescents with a varicocele who are followed with active surveillance. Total testicular volume can predict total motile count at the end of adolescence but not throughout.

MS Christman, SA Zderic, DA Canning, TF Kolon
Active Surveillance of the Adolescent With Varicocele: Predicting Semen Outcomes From Ultrasound
J Urol 2014 May 01;191(5)1401-1406