Preoperative follicle-stimulating hormone: A factor associated with semen parameter improvement after microscopic subinguinal varicocelectomy
Introduction: Currently, there exists no serum biomarker to predict patients likely to benefit from varicocelectomy. The purpose of this study was to assess the association between baseline follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and semen parameter changes after subinguinal microscopic varicocelectomy.
Methods: We retrospectively reviewed all men who underwent microscopic subinguinal varicocelectomy between August 2015 and October 2018. Pre- and postoperative semen analyses were stratified per total motile sperm count (TMSC): TMSC <5, 5–9, and >9 million (based on TMSC required for in vitro fertilization, intrauterine insemination [IUI], and natural conception, respectively). Then, variables were analyzed to determine the correlation with postoperative TMSC values and upgrade in TMSC category.
Results: Among the 66 men analyzed, 55 (83.3%) and 11 (16.7%) had a preoperative TMSC of <5 million and 5–9 million, respectively. A total of 33 (50%) patients upgraded in TMSC category, 26 of them achieving levels corresponding to natural conception and seven achieving those of IUI. Additionally, a significant correlation was observed between postoperative TMSC and preoperative TMSC (r=0.528; p<0.001), and preoperative FSH (r=-0.314; p=0.010). A lower preoperative FSH (odds ratio [OR] 0.82; 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.68–0.98; p=0.028) and a higher preoperative TMSC (OR 1.37; 95% CI 1.06–1.76; p=0.015) were associated with upgrade in TMSC category.
Conclusions: Lower preoperative FSH and higher TMSC are associated with improvement in TMSC category after varicocelectomy, although small sample size limited the study. FSH can be useful to identify men who are most likely to benefit from varicocele repair.
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