Every year in the United States, more than a half million men make the decision to have a vasectomy, ostensibly deciding to eliminate the chances of causing a pregnancy in the future. But statistics show about five to 10 percent of those men wind up changing their minds later, opting to undergo a second procedure to “undo” their vasectomy so they can, hopefully, become fathers.
Vasectomy reversal has become much more common in recent years, perhaps partly because more insurance companies are providing coverage for the cost of the procedures, but also because advances in surgical techniques have resulted in much higher success rates for those undergoing the procedure. If you’re considering having a vasectomy reversed, here’s what you can expect during and after the procedure.
Vasectomy Reversal: The Procedure
In normal ejaculation, sperm are produced in each testicle and released into a coiled structure called the epididymis, which is connected to a long tube called the vas deferens. The vas deferens transports sperm to the urethra where it can be ejaculated, mixing it with seminal fluid along the way. In a vasectomy, this pathway is interrupted by severing the vas deferens, preventing sperm from becoming mixed with the rest of the seminal fluid.
Vasectomy reversal procedures typically use microsurgical techniques, special methods that rely on very high magnification, to carefully and precisely rejoin the cut ends of the vas deferens, or to attach the vas deferens to the epididymis, restoring the original pathway of the sperm. Procedures are performed on an outpatient basis while you’re sedated.
Once you’re asleep, small incisions will be made on either side of the scrotum and the scarred ends of the vas deferens will be removed. A small amount of fluid will be removed and checked for the presence of sperm. If sperm are present, the ends of the vas deferens can be joined together in a simple procedure called vasovasostomy. If there is no sperm in the fluid, the vas deferens will need to be connected to the epididymis. This is called a vasoepididymostomy, and it serves the same purpose as a vasovasostomy.
What to expect afterward
Recovery following vasectomy reversal is relatively quick, and any discomfort can be managed with pain medication. In most cases, you’ll be able to resume your normal routine within about a week, but heavy lifting or other strenuous work will need to be avoided longer. You’ll also need to wear a jockstrap during recovery, and you should avoid having intercourse for two to three weeks.
Pregnancy rates following vasectomy reversal can vary based on the length of time that elapsed between the original procedure and the reversal. Reversals performed soon after a vasectomy has a greater chance of success. Following your procedure, you’ll have your sperm tested to determine if the reversal has been successful in restoring a normal level of sperm to your ejaculate.
If you’re considering a vasectomy reversal, we can help. Call our office today at 404-705-5201 or use our online contact form for more information.