The interpretation of the total serum testosterone concentration is problematic because it is related directly to the serum SHBG concentration. Frequently, an estimate of the serum free testosterone concentration is obtained to better assess the clinical status of the patient. We reviewed five methods for the determination of free testosterone or a surrogate test/index and the problems with these methods. The calculated free testosterone or BAT (highly positively correlated) are recommended as the preferred tests to assess biologically-active testosterone, although interlaboratory values may differ because standards are not available. The controversies in evaluating gonadal function are illustrated by the andropause (elevated SHBG) and obese men (decreased SHBG).
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