Robotic approaches for male infertility and chronic orchialgia microsurgery

Curr Opin Urol. 2011 Nov;21(6):493-9. doi: 10.1097/MOU.0b013e32834bb783.


Purpose of review: Since its inception in early 2000, robotic assistance with urologic procedures continues to expand. The magnification, three-dimensional visualization, and surgical control offered by the latest daVinci Si-HD system has led to its integration into microsurgical procedures for male infertility. The addition of robotic assistance may allow an improvement in outcomes similar to when the operating microscope was introduced in microsurgery. Though the use of robotics in microsurgery is still in its early phases, initial findings are encouraging.

Recent findings: This review covers robotic microsurgical procedures and tools for infertility and chronic orchialgia/testicular pain such as vasovasostomy, vasoepididymostomy, varicocelectomy, testicular sperm extraction and targeted denervation of the spermatic cord. Preliminary human clinical studies appear to show improved operative efficiency and comparable outcomes. The use of robotic assistance during robotic microsurgical vasovasostomy appears to decrease operative duration and improve the rate of return of postoperative sperm counts compared to the pure microsurgical technique.

Summary: Long-term prospective controlled trials are necessary to assess the true benefit for robotic-assisted microsurgery. The preliminary findings are promising, but further evaluation is warranted.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Chronic Pain / surgery*
  • Equipment Design
  • Humans
  • Infertility, Male / surgery*
  • Male
  • Microsurgery* / instrumentation
  • Reproductive Techniques, Assisted* / instrumentation
  • Robotics* / instrumentation
  • Surgery, Computer-Assisted* / instrumentation
  • Testicular Diseases / surgery*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Urologic Surgical Procedures, Male / instrumentation
  • Urologic Surgical Procedures, Male / methods*