Is transrectal ultrasonography a reliable diagnostic approach in ejaculatory duct sub-obstruction?

Giovanni M. Colpi, Luciano Negri, Rossella E. Nappi, Benito Chinea

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We studied the diagnostic predictive power of transrectal ultrasonography (TRUS) coupled with semen volume in cases of distal seminal tract sub-obstruction. As a gold standard for diagnosis we used seminal tract washout (STW). Non-azoospermic subjects (n = 112) were submitted to transrectal ultrasonography because of suspected excretory infertility or other andrological pathologies, before performing STW. STW indicated ejaculatory duct sub-obstruction in 36.6% of the patients. Seminal vesicle enlargement (anterior-posterior diameter ≤ 15 mm) and seminal vesicle roundish anechoic areas (stasis) were the ultrasonographic anomalies more often associated with ejaculatory duct sub-obstruction. Stepwise logistic regression (SLR) analysis revealed that the ultrasonographic evidence of stasis was highly diagnostic only in the presence of a low semen volume (≤ 1.5 ml) and that ejaculatory duct sub-obstructions may be present but with no evidence of ultrasonographic anomalies. Therefore, TRUS is a useful approach for the treatment of suspected ejaculatory duct sub-obstruction, but is not a reliable diagnostic tool and, before performing transurethral surgery, STW should be mandatory.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2186-2191
Number of pages6
JournalHuman Reproduction
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 1997


  • Male infertility
  • Semen volume
  • Seminal vesicle
  • Ultrasonography

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Developmental Biology
  • Obstetrics and Gynaecology
  • Reproductive Medicine


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