Definition - What does Vasogram mean?

A vasogram is an X-ray image of the vas deferens that is obtained to identify if there is any blockage to the passage of sperm from the testes to the urethra. An obstruction at any part of the vas deferens or the ejaculatory duct may stop sperm from entering the urethra during ejaculation resulting in low sperm counts in semen and can lead to infertility. Therefore, assessment of the patency or openness of the vas deferens is important in the evaluation of male infertility.

FertilitySmarts explains Vasogram

Vas deferens begins at the epididymis of the testis and it opens to the urethra through the ejaculatory duct. It is approximately 12 inches or 30 centimeters in length. A vasogram assesses the patency or openness of the vas deferens and the ejaculatory ducts along its whole length.

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

Not all patients with male infertility require a vasogram. If a male has a low sperm count, a testicular biopsy is performed to see the status of sperm production in the testes. A low sperm count and the presence of normal spermatogenesis or sperm production indicates a possible obstruction in the tubes. At this point, a vasogram is done to locate the exact place of obstruction in view of correction of the obstruction.

The procedure is done in the theater 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.

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 or an infection developing at the site of the incision in the scrotum. These complications are uncommon, and steps are usually taken to minimize them.

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