Microdissection Testicular Sperm Extraction Versus Multiple Needle-pass Percutaneous Testicular Sperm Aspiration in Men with Nonobstructive Azoospermia: A Randomized Clinical Trial

Christian Fuglesang S Jensen*, Dana A Ohl, Mikkel Fode, Niels Jørgensen, Aleksander Giwercman, Niels Henrik Bruun, Angel Elenkov, Anna Klajnbard, Claus Y Andersen, Lise Aksglaede, Marie Louise Grøndahl, Mette C Bekker, Jens Sønksen

*Corresponding author for this work


BACKGROUND: Surgical extraction of testicular spermatozoa is needed in men with nonobstructive azoospermia (NOA) who wish to become biological fathers. Based on available uncontrolled studies with unspecific patient selection, microdissection testicular sperm extraction (mTESE), having a sperm retrieval rate (SRR) of 50%, is considered the most efficient sperm retrieval procedure. However, no randomized clinical trials for comparison of different sperm retrieval procedures exist. Testicular sperm aspiration (TESA) is simple and commonly used, and we hypothesized that this technique using multiple needle passes would give similar SRRs to mTESE.

OBJECTIVE: To compare mTESE and multiple needle-pass TESA in men with NOA.

DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS: A randomized clinical trial was performed between June 2017 and April 2021, with inclusion of 100 men with NOA from four centers in Denmark and Sweden. All participants received treatment at the same institution.

INTERVENTION: Participants were randomized to mTESE (n = 49) or multiple needle-pass TESA (n = 51). Patients with failed multiple needle-pass TESA proceeded directly to salvage mTESE.

OUTCOME MEASUREMENTS AND STATISTICAL ANALYSIS: The primary outcome was SRR. Secondary outcomes included complications and changes in reproductive hormones after surgery.

RESULTS AND LIMITATIONS: Spermatozoa were retrieved in 21/49 (43%) men after mTESE and in 11/51 (22%) men after multiple needle-pass TESA (rate difference -0.21; 95% confidence interval -0.39 to -0.03; p = 0.02). The combined SRR for multiple needle-pass TESA + salvage mTESE was 15/51 (29%). No complications occurred after multiple needle-pass TESA only, while 5/89 (6%) men having mTESE experienced a complication requiring surgical intervention. Overall, no statistically significant differences in reproductive hormones were observed between groups after 6 mo. Limitations include the low number of patients in secondary outcome data.

CONCLUSIONS: In direct comparison, SRR was higher in mTESE than in multiple needle-pass TESA.

PATIENT SUMMARY: Men with azoospermia need surgical extraction of spermatozoa to become biological fathers. In this randomized trial, we compared two surgeries (microdissection testicular sperm extraction [mTESE] and testicular sperm aspiration [TESA]) and found that mTESE gives a higher sperm retrieval rate than multiple needle-pass TESA.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Urology
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)377-384
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2022


  • Azoospermia/complications
  • Female
  • Hormones
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Microdissection/methods
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Semen
  • Sperm Retrieval
  • Spermatozoa
  • Testis/surgery


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