New Study Demonstrates Novel Use of Metabolic Imaging to Locate Sperm in Infertile Men

Non-invasive imaging procedure may replace invasive techniques such as testicular biopsy

San Francisco – February 4, 2010. Men with no sperm in their ejaculate – a condition known as azoospermia – may no longer need invasive procedures to determine if they have sperm in their testes according to a new study published in Human Reproduction.

Instead, the study found that MR Spectroscopy – a simple metabolic scan that combines the use of 1H Spectroscopy with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) – can be used to determine the likelihood of finding sperm in men with non-obstructive azoospermia (NOA).

Trust me when I say that men with azoospermia would rather have a non-invasive scan done than have a surgical procedure to determine whether or not they can be fathers.”
– Dr. Paul Turek

The study’s lead author is Paul Turek, MD, former professor and endowed chair at the University of California San Francisco and founder of The Turek Clinic.

“Some men with azoospermia may still have small amounts of sperm in the testicle, but determining which of these men has retrievable sperm is challenging. This is a novel and exciting application of metabolic scanning that shows great potential to eliminate invasive biopsies and gives new hope to infertile men who wish to father children,” said Dr. Turek, a men’s reproductive health expert.

Traditional methods for evaluating if sperm exist, including testicular biopsy and microdissection are highly invasive and have only a 60% to 65% success rate. FNA Sperm Mapping, pioneered by Dr. Turek, is far less invasive, but still involves the use of fine needle aspiration to obtain tissue samples from the testes.

In contrast, MR Spectroscopy, or Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopic Imaging, is a non-invasive scan that measures metabolic activity in the testis. The study shows that the scan is as accurate as a more invasive testis biopsy in reading several abnormal patterns of sperm production typically associated with infertility and azoospermia. It also shows that testis tissue containing spermatids or sperm carry a distinct chemical signature that can be distinguished by MR Spectroscopy.

Additionally, MR Spectroscopy has the ability to evaluate testis metabolism in as many as 100 areas within the testis, significantly increasing the ability to sample for sperm well beyond any of the more invasive techniques commonly used today.

MR Spectroscopy is a non-invasive diagnostic technology that is cleared by the FDA.

About The Turek Clinic

The Turek Clinic is a next-generation men’s healthcare medical practice specializing in issues facing reproductive age men, including male infertilityerectile dysfunctionvasectomyvasectomy reversalvaricocele repair, and other minimally invasive procedures. The practice was founded in 2008 by Dr. Paul Turek, a pioneer in men’s reproductive health and former endowed chair professor at the University of California San Francisco. Dr. Turek’s work combines innovative and cutting edge techniques with the wisdom of old-world medicine to treat and solve men’s health issues.