A testicular biopsy is a test in which a small sample of tissue is taken from one or both testicles and examined under a microscope to evaluate a man's ability to father a child. Results are usually available in 2 to 4 days.
A pathologist examines the biopsy sample through a microscope for any abnormalities in sperm production or maturation. If sperm development appears normal yet a semen analysis test shows reduced or absent sperm, a blockage of the tube (vas deferens) from the testes to the urethra is suspected. A blocked vas deferens can sometimes be repaired by surgery.
What Affects the Test
It is important to remain completely still while a biopsy is done under local anesthesia. If this is not possible, general anesthesia may be needed.
What To Think About
Testicular cancer is more likely to spread when a testicular biopsy is done. For this reason, a biopsy usually is not done if testicular cancer is suspected. A testicular ultrasound is generally done to help diagnose suspected testicular cancer. To learn more, see the topic Testicular Ultrasound. When cancer is suspected, an open surgical procedure (orchiectomy) is done to confirm the diagnosis.
Other Works Consulted
Goldstein M (2012). Surgical management of male infertility. In AJ Wein et al., eds., Campbell-Walsh Urology, 10th ed., vol. 1, pp. 648-987. Philadelphia: Saunders.
Walsh TJ, Smith JF (2013). Male infertility. In JW McAninch, TF Lue, eds., Smith and Tanagho's General Urology, 18th ed., pp. 687-719. New York: McGraw-Hill.
Primary Medical ReviewerE. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical ReviewerChristopher G. Wood, MD, FACS - Urology, Oncology
Current as ofSeptember 9, 2014