Early effects of extracorporeal shock-wave lithotripsy exposure on testicular sperm morphology

Scand J Urol Nephrol. 2004;38(1):38-41. doi: 10.1080/00365590310015723.


Objective: To investigate the effects of extracorporeal shock-wave lithotripsy (ESWL) applied to the pelvic region on testicular histology and spermatogenesis.

Material and methods: ESWL (2000 shock waves over a 20-min period at 18 kV) was applied to 12 adult New Zealand male rabbits. The rabbits were divided into three equal groups: those in Group 1 were sacrificed 1 h after the intervention, those in Group 2 were sacrificed on the 3rd day and those in Group 3 were sacrificed on the 7th day. Both testicles were removed for histopathological examination to investigate the effects of ESWL. Transmission electron microscopy (TEM) was used to detect ultrastructural changes. Epididymal and testicular touch-print preparations were stained with SperMac stain in order to evaluate the morphology of the spermatozoa.

Results: There were no significant differences between the groups in terms of sperm morphology (p = 0.386). TEM revealed only huge vacuolation of Sertoli cells and diffuse edema in the mitochondria of Sertoli cells.

Conclusion: No detrimental effect of ESWL on sperm morphology was detected in this study. We conclude that shock waves do not cause severe permanent effects but only transient disorders in testes.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Lithotripsy / adverse effects
  • Lithotripsy / methods*
  • Male
  • Microscopy, Electron, Scanning
  • Rabbits
  • Random Allocation
  • Reference Values
  • Risk
  • Sperm Count
  • Sperm Motility
  • Spermatogenesis
  • Testis / physiology
  • Testis / ultrastructure*
  • Urinary Bladder
  • Urinary Calculi / therapy*