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Testicular Biopsy

A testicular biopsy is a test to remove a small sample of tissue from one or both testicles and examine it under a microscope to evaluate a man's ability to father a child.

The testicles camera.gif (testes) are oval-shaped glands that hang in the scrotum beneath the base of the penis. The testicles produce sperm camera.gif (necessary for reproduction) and male hormones, such as testosterone.

Why It Is Done

A testicular biopsy may, on rare occasions, be done to help determine the cause of male infertility. Testicular biopsy may be done if both of the following are present:

  • The man's semen does not have sperm.
  • Hormone test results are within the normal range.

Testicular biopsy is not usually used to detect testicular cancer. When cancer is suspected, an open surgical procedure (orchiectomy) is done to confirm the diagnosis.

Testicular biopsy may also be done to retrieve sperm for in vitro fertilization for intracytoplasmic sperm injection (IVF-ICSI).

How To Prepare

Before having a testicular biopsy, be sure to tell your doctor if you:

You will need to sign a consent form that says you understand the risks of a testicular biopsy and agree to have the biopsy. Talk to your doctor about any concerns you have regarding the need for the test, its risks, how it will be done, or what the results will mean. To help you understand the importance of the biopsy, fill out the medical test information form(What is a PDF document?).

If a testicular biopsy is done under local anesthesia, no other special preparation is needed.

If the biopsy is done under general anesthesia, your doctor will tell you how soon before surgery to stop eating and drinking. Follow the instructions exactly about when to stop eating and drinking, or your surgery may be canceled. If your doctor has instructed you to take your medicines on the day of surgery, please do so using only a sip of water. During preparation for the biopsy, an intravenous line (IV) is inserted in your arm, and a sedative medicine is given about an hour before the biopsy.

How It Is Done

This biopsy is done by a surgeon or a doctor who treats reproductive health problems in men (urologist) in the doctor's office, a day surgery clinic, or a hospital operating room.

You will lie on your back on an examining table. The skin over your testicle is cleaned with an antiseptic solution, and the area around it is covered with sterile cloth. Your doctor will wear sterile gloves. It is very important that you do not touch this sterile area.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: December 28, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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