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Volume 15, Issue 3 (May 2013) 15, 434–436; 10.1038/aja.2012.154

Long-term effect of vasectomy on spermatogenesis in men: a morphometric study

Yu Xiang1, Peng Luo2, Yun Cao2 and Zheng-Wei Yang1

1 Morphometric Research Laboratory, North Sichuan Medical College, Nanchong 637007, China
2 Department of Surgery, People's Hospital of Peng'an County, Nanchong 638250, China

Correspondence: Professor ZW Yang, (zwyang@nsmc.edu.cn)

Received 16 October 2012; Revised 8 November 2012; Accepted 7 December 2012 Advance online publication 25 February 2013


Spermatogenic damage may occur after vasectomy, and the damage is pressure mediated, occurring when the occluded reproductive tract is unable to accommodate additional sperm produced by the testis. This study aimed to determine the long-term effect of vasectomy on spermatogenesis in humans and clarify how the balance between sperm production in the testis and sperm storage in or removal from the tract might be maintained. During inguinal hernia repair, an open biopsy was performed to obtain testicular tissue blocks from 51 Chinese men (aged ≥50 years), of whom 25 (control group) had not undergone vasectomy and 26 (vasectomized group) had undergone bilateral vasectomy 22–42 years before. Methacrylate resin-embedded testicular sections were made, and morphometric studies were performed using light microscopy. In addition, sizes of the testis and epididymis were estimated with ultrasonography. The testicular tissue blocks obtained from one control and seven vasectomized men consisted almost completely of connective tissue. In the other 43 men, significant differences were not found between the two groups in the testicular or epididymal size, qualitative histology or quantitative parameters including the mean diameter or volume fraction of the seminiferous tubules. In conclusion, sperm production and sperm storage/removal reached a static equilibrium after vasectomy, likely due to spermatogenic degeneration or less sperm production as a result of aging or due to vasectomy-induced testicular (interstitial) fibrosis. Thus, complications that might occur in association with overproduction of sperm and distension of the tract would disappear or be relieved with time.


histology; humans; morphometry; spermatogenesis; testis; vasectomy

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