What is the impact of extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy on semen parameters? A systematic review and meta-analysis



Extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy (ESWL) is an important tool for the management of urolithiasis. The effects of shockwaves on tissues are established. The aim of this meta-analysis is to evaluate the microscopic semen characteristics of young men before and after ESWL treatment for lower ureteral calculi.


Literature searches were performed following the Cochrane guidelines. We conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis that included six trials that investigated the effects of ESWL on semen parameters, including sperm concentration, motility, and hematospermia. Meta-analyses were performed using fixed and random-effects models with tests for publication bias and heterogeneity.


Significant worsening was detected in sperm concentration and motility after ESWL between case and control groups (mean difference -17.23, 95% confidence interval -22.53 to -11.93, p<0.00001, mean difference -10.82, 95% confidence interval -18.56 to -3.07, p = 0.006). Rate of microscopic and macroscopic hematospermia was significantly higher after ESWL between case and control groups [risk ratio (RR) 40.00, 95% confidence interval 10.11-158.30, p<0.00001, RR 14.33, 95% confidence interval 2.82-72.90, p = 0.001]. All parameters recovered after 3 months.


This study showed sperm concentration, motility, and rate of hematospermia (microscopic and macroscopic) were affected by ESWL that was used for the treatment of lower ureteral stone. Long-term studies with a focus on male fertility (i.e., pregnancy rates) after ESWL are warranted.

Urologia 2017; 84(1): 28 - 34

Article Type: REVIEW



Mohammad H. Radfar, Nasser Simforoosh, Mehdi Sotoudeh, Mehdi H. Ramezani, Mohammad J. Mollakoochakian, Maryam Nikravesh, Hamidreza Shemshaki

Article History


Financial support: The authors received no financial support for the research.
Conflict of interest: The authors declare that there are no conflicts of interest.

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  • Urology and Nephrology Research Center, Shahid Labbafinejad Medical Center, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran - Iran
  • Research Committee, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran - Iran

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