18 March, 2022
A pioneering surgical technique in Europe allows reversing male infertility
Male infertility can be caused by multiple causes, among which there may be physical problems. In some cases, it is possible to solve these problems through surgery. The Urology Department of the Hospital Clínic Group, directed by Dr Antonio Alcaraz, is now a pioneer in Europe in carrying out a new surgical technique that allows for much more accurate procedures in these interventions and thus achieves a better recovery for the patient: the Micro Thesis or microsurgical retrieval of sperm assisted with the Olympus Orbeye exoscope.
The team that has started these new operations is made up of Dr Josep Torremadé, Dr Juan Manuel Corral and Dr Lluis Peri, all of them professionals from the Hospital Clínic Urology Service and from barnaclínic+. This new technique is performed using this exoscope in 4k and 3D vision. While many angles cannot be reached with a microscope, because the field of view is limited, the exoscope has a head that can rotate in any direction so that the view is 360 degrees. Another advantage of this technique is that the professional can perform the operation with his head raised, looking at a screen, as is already the case with laparoscopic surgeries.
Dr Antonio Alcaraz, head of the Urology and Kidney Transplant Service at the Hospital Clínic in Barcelona and a professional at barnaclínic+, maintains that the “practice of this new technique demonstrates, once again, the commitment to innovation at the Clinic with the sole objective of improving the quality of life of patients and improving efficiency in all processes”.
«The practice of this new technique demonstrates, once again, the commitment to innovation at the Clinic with the sole objective of improving the quality of life of patients and improving efficiency in all processes»
APPLICATIONS OF THE NEW TECHNIQUE
The main indication for Micro Tese assisted by the Olympus Orbeye exoscope, which improves the current ones in the field of reproductive andrology, is in patients with varicocele. This pathology consists of the enlargement of the veins of the testicle and they are a frequent cause of low production and quality of sperm, which can cause infertility. Another possible application of the technique is to recover sperm from the testicle in cases of absence of sperm in the semen or azoospermia, which represents between 2 and 15% of cases of male infertility.
Dr Josep Torremadé, a specialist in the Urology Service at Hospital Clínic and an andrologist at barnaclínic+, points out that “this type of intervention increases recovery results compared to conventional biopsy. It is a technique that today should be the gold standard for sperm retrieval for patients who have non-obstructive azoospermia, which means that they are not capable of having sperm in their semen”.
«This type of intervention increases recovery results compared to conventional biopsy. It is a technique that today should be the gold standard for sperm recovery for patients with non-obstructive azoospermia»
Dr Josep Torremadé, a specialist in the Urology Service at Hospital Clínic and an andrologist at barnaclínic+
For his part, Dr Juan Manuel Corral, a urologist at the Hospital Clínic Group and a professional at barnaclínic+ and FIVclínic, points out how male infertility, in addition to being a health problem, also has emotional implications and that thanks to these advances it is possible to give a response to many patients.“With this technique we are going to look for the sperm in the source of production that is in the testicular tissue.”
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ADVANTAGES OF ORBEYE ASSISTED MICRO TEST
Regarding the advantages of using this new technique performed for the first time in Spain and Europe, Dr Juan Manuel Corral maintains that “it is a further step in terms of quality for sperm surgical reproduction techniques”. She highlights that the use of the exoscope in 4k and 3D vision “allows for a better depth of tissue, better visualization and greater precision”. For his part, Dr Josep Torremadé focuses on how this technique facilitates the intervention, which, for the andrologist, “will improve the training of residents in training and, probably, will universalize the use of these microsurgical techniques in the field of assisted reproduction”.
«This is a further step in terms of quality for sperm surgical reproduction techniques. It allows to have a better depth of the tissue, better visualization and greater precision»
Dr Juan Manuel Corral, specialist of the Urology Service of Hospital Clínic and professional of barnaclínic+ and FIVclínic
ABOUT MALE INFERTILITY
Male infertility is defined as when a man has difficulty getting a woman pregnant after trying for at least a year. At the Hospital Clínic Group, around 700 patients with fertility problems are seen each year.
The causes can be diverse, but above all they can be: physical problems of the testicles, blockages of the tubes that transport semen, hormonal problems, genetic diseases and even environmental or lifestyle factors. Up to 15% of couples fail to have children after a year of trying. In 40% of cases the cause of this infertility is associated with a problem exclusive to men, while in 20% there is a factor associated with both men and women. In this way, male infertility is involved in at least 50% of cases of infertility in couples. Therefore, infertility affects both men and women.