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Vasogram Medically Reviewed

Last Updated: April 7, 2020

Definition - What does Vasogram mean?

A vasogram is an X-ray of the vas deferens that helps determine if any blockage exists. The vas deferens are the two tubes that serve as the passageway of sperm from the testes to the urethra. The vas deferens begins at the epididymis of the testis and joins the seminal vesicles to it open into opens to the urethra through the ejaculatory duct. They are It is approximately 12 inches or 30 centimeters in length

An obstruction in the vas deferens or the ejaculatory duct may stop sperm from entering the urethra during ejaculation and can result in low sperm counts and infertility. Therefore, assessment of the patency or openness of the vas deferens is important in the evaluation of male infertility.

FertilitySmarts explains Vasogram

An obstruction in the male reproductive tract can be caused by an infection, surgery or trauma. Rarely, abnormalities can occur during the development of the tubes resulting in either incomplete or absent vas deferens from birth.

One option is an ultrasound that uses sound waves to look at body structures. Since both the vas deferens and the seminal vesicles end in the ejaculatory ducts, an ultrasound showing a large seminal vesicle suggests obstruction of the ejaculatory ducts. A vasogram is even more sensitive than the ultrasound and can show the exact location of the obstruction.

Who Needs a Vasogram?

Not all patients with male infertility require a vasogram. If a male has a very low sperm count, laboratory studies, including testosterone levels, and sometimes genetic tests are done. These studies check for normal sperm production.

A low sperm count and the presence of normal spermatogenesis or sperm production indicates a possible obstruction in the tubes. If both of these are found and the physical examination suggests obstruction of the vas deferens, an ultrasound may be done to check for obstruction. If more information is needed, a vasogram can be done to locate the exact place of obstruction in an effort to correct the obstruction.

Procedure

The procedure is done in a procedural or operating room under local or general anesthesia. A contrast medium (dye) is injected into the vas deferens through a small incision made on the scrotum and then serial X-ray films are taken that capture the dye moving through the tubes.

Complications

Performing a vasogram can be associated with several complications. The procedure itself can cause obstructions in the vas deferens if not done correctly. There is also a risk of a hematoma (bleeding in the scrotum) or infection developing at the site of the incision in the scrotum. These complications are uncommon, and steps are usually taken to minimize them.

Vasogram Vas DeferensImage caption

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