Testicular biopsy is surgery to remove a piece of tissue from the testicles. The tissue is examined under a microscope.
Biopsy - testicle
How the Test is Performed
The biopsy can be done in many ways. The type of biopsy you have depends on the reason for the test. Your health care provider will talk to you about your options.
Open biopsy may be done in the health care provider's office, a surgical center, or at a hospital. The skin over the testicle is cleaned with a germ-killing (antiseptic) medicine. The area around it is covered with a sterile towel. A local anesthetic is given to numb the area.
A small surgical cut is made through the skin. A small piece of the testicle tissue is removed. The opening in the testicle is closed with a stich. Another stitch closes the cut in the skin. The procedure is repeated for the other testicle if necessary.
Needle biopsy is most often done in the health care provider's office. The area is cleaned and local anesthesia is used, just as in the open biopsy. A sample of the testicle is taken using a special needle. The procedure does not require a cut in the skin.
Depending on the reason for the test, a needle biopsy may not be possible or recommended.
How to Prepare for the Test
Your health care provider may tell you not to take aspirin or medications that contain aspirin for 1 week before the procedure. Always ask your provider before stopping any medicines.
How the Test will Feel
There will be a sting when the anesthetic is given. You should only feel pressure or discomfort similar to a pinprick during the biopsy.
Why the Test is Performed
The test is most often done to find the cause of male infertility. It is done when a semen analysis suggests that there is abnormal sperm and other tests have not found the cause. In some cases, sperm obtained from a testicular biopsy can be used to fertilize a woman's egg in the lab. This process is called in vitro fertilization.
Testicular biopsy may also be done if you have found a lump during testicular self-examination. If tests such as testicular ultrasound suggest that the lump may be in the testicle, surgery may be needed to look at the testicle more closely.
A biopsy to determine whether the lump is cancerous or noncancerous (benign) may be done. If cancer is found or suspected, the entire testicle is removed.
Sperm development appears normal.
What Abnormal Results Mean
Abnormal results may mean a problem with sperm or hormone function. Biopsy may be able to find the cause of the problem.
In some cases the sperm development appears normal in the testicle, but semen analysis shows no sperm or reduced sperm. This may indicate a blockage of the tube through which the sperm travel from the testes to the urethra. This blockage can sometimes be repaired with surgery.
Other causes of abnormal results:
A cyst-like lump filled with fluid and dead sperm cells (spermatocele)