Philippou P et al, 2012: The impact of shock wave lithotripsy on male fertility: a critical analysis of existing evidence
Philippou P, Ralph DJ, Timoney AG
Bristol Urological Institute, Southmead Hospital, Bristol, UK
We review the literature about the impact of shock wave lithotripsy (SWL) on male reproduction. Studies investigating the in vitro effect of shock waves on semen samples indicate that spermatozoa are vulnerable to SWL. According to animal studies, intratesticular bleeding is common, but pregnancy rates are not affected by shock waves. In the clinical setting, SWL causes an acute deterioration in sperm quality, but semen parameters return to baseline 3 months later. Long-term data on male fertility (ie, pregnancy rates) after SWL have yet to be reported and the significance of preexisting infertility has not been elucidated to date.
Copyright Â© 2012 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Urology. 2012 Mar;79(3):492-500. doi: 10.1016/j.urology.2011.12.003
PMID: 22386390 [PubMed - in process]
The authors have reviewed the available literature on SWL effects on the male reproductive organs and sperms. Animal, in vitro and clinical observations have shown acute transient effects on the tissues as well as on the sperm quality. These changes generally seemed to be reversed after a period of 3 months.
No long-term effects on fertility were noted. If any further clinical conclusion should be drawn from the reported findings it would be to use a small SWL focus when treating distal ureteral stones and to avoid directing shockwaves towards the testes.