What is a Testicular Biopsy?
Testicular biopsy is a procedure that involves taking a small portion of testicle off for examination. The biopsy is performed by making a small incision in the skin of the scrotum.
A small piece of the testicle tissue is removed via the incision by cutting the sample of.
What is a testicular biopsy for?
A testicular biopsy may be used to:
- identify whether sperm production problems are caused by a blockage
- retrieve sperm for use in IVF. This is done if sperm is being made in the testicles but not present in the semen.
- diagnose testicular cancer.
- investigate unusual lumps in the testicles
- diagnose causes of male infertility.
What does a testicular biopsy involve?
There are two types of testicular biopsy:
Percutaneous Biopsy - This procedure does not require an incision or stitches but a thin biopsy needle is inserted via the skin of the testicles. The needle has a syringe on the end to collect its tissue.
A core needle biopsy is a variation of this technique. It uses a hollow needle (that is loaded with springs) to extract a cylinder of cells. This is called a core sample. A core sample gathers larger specimens that from a fine needle biopsy.
An open biopsy is also known as a surgical biopsy. Your doctor begins by making a cut in the skin. An incision is also made in the testicle. A small tissue sample is taken from the opening and it is closed afterwards with stitches.
Preparation for a Testicular Biopsy
Those preparing for a testicular biopsy should let their doctor know about any over the counter medications you're taking. You should discuss whether these medications should be used before and during the test.
Some drugs may present a special risk during the procedure. These include:
- nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, including aspirin or ibuprofen
- any medications that affect blood clotting
If you are receiving general anesthesia, you'll need to fast from food and drink for at least eight hours before the test. If you're given a sedative to take at home prior to the biopsy, you'll not be able to drive yourself to the procedure.
The biopsy procedure is usually performed under a local anaesthetic. In certain circumstances, it may be necessary to use a general anaesthetic.
Typically, 10 (range 4-20) snips of tissue are obtained using a hollow needle, which is uncomfortable. An ultrasound probe is inserted into the rectum to image the prostate gland to ensure the biopsies are taken from the correct part(s) of the prostate. Results take between one to two weeks to become available.