Transurethral resection of the ejaculatory duct.Int J Urol. 2000 May; 7 Suppl:S42-7.IJ
Complete bilateral ejaculatory duct obstruction has long been recognized as an uncommon, treatable form of male infertility. Partial ejaculatory duct obstruction reflects a disturbance of ejaculation where sperm quality is impaired during transit through the distal vas deferens and ejaculatory ducts. With the advent and increased use of high-resolution transrectal ultrasonography, abnormalities of the distal ejaculatory ducts related to infertility have been well documented. Although there are no pathognomonic findings associated with ejaculatory duct obstruction, several clinical findings are highly suggestive. In an infertile man with oligospermia or azoospermia with low ejaculate volume, normal secondary sexual characteristics, testes and hormonal profile and dilated seminal vesicles, midline cyst, or calcification on transrectal ultrasonography, ejaculatory duct obstruction is suggested. Of course, other causes of infertility may be concomitantly present and need to be searched for and treated as well. In selected cases, transurethral resection has resulted in marked improvement in semen parameters and pregnancies have been achieved. As is the case with all surgical procedures, proper patient selection and surgical experience are necessary to obtain optimal results. However, it appears that the treatments currently available for relief of ejaculatory obstruction are not optimally effective. Only approximately one half of treated patients will have an improvement in semen parameters and only about one quarter of treated patients will contribute to a pregnancy. What remains to be determined is how to manage the additional nearly 50% of patients who do not benefit from transurethral resection of ejaculatory obstruction. Based on my experience, I suggest that transrectal ultrasonography should be the first diagnostic procedure used when infertile men are suspected of having ejaculatory duct obstruction; however, vasography should still be considered for a more comprehensive diagnosis of ejaculatory duct obstruction. In patients showing atrophic seminal vesicles on transrectal ultrasonography and having a history of pulmonary tuberculosis, further study is not necessary and microscopic epididymal sperm aspiration is recommended for in vitro fertilization. Qualitative measurement of semen fructose may be helpful in the diagnosis of partial ejaculatory duct obstruction. Patients having midline cyst and being treated by transurethral resection are expected to have the best outcome.