Vasectomy Reversal (Vasovasostomy)
A vasectomy is a simple, safe and effective surgical procedure to sterilize a man (see vasectomy for details). While it should be considered an irreversible and permanent method of birth control, there are possible options for reversal. If you find you want to have children after a vasectomy, a surgical procedure called a vasovasostomy might restore fertility. It is a major operation that is expensive and not always covered by insurance.
How it is performed:
In a vasovasostomy, the physician reconnects the severed ends of the vas deferens to allow the free flow of sperm. It is usually an outpatient procedure that takes two to four hours. Normally, the patient is anesthetized (asleep) through the procedure. The physician will make one or two tiny incisions in the skin of the scrotum, and the vas deferens are reconnected through carefully placed microsurgical sutures.
A vasectomy reversal is not guaranteed to restore your ability to father a child. Additional blockages can form over time, and some men develop antibodies to their own sperm. Generally, your chances of a successful vasectomy reversal decline with time. Reversals are more successful during the first 10 years after a vasectomy, with the greatest results within three years. Overall, vasectomy reversals procedures are estimated to result in pregnancy rates of up to 80 percent.
Pain following a vasectomy reversal is not uncommon and could be mild to moderate. You may experience swollen, achy testicles for a week or so after the procedure. Physicians recommend that you lie down for six to eight hours after the surgery and keep an ice pack on the incision. Likewise, in the days following reversal, you should stay off your feet as much as possible and use ice packs to limit swelling.
In the five days after surgery, patients should avoid heavy lifting or exercise. You may notice a small, bloody discharge from the incision site, but this is normal.
You should be able to resume normal activities, including sexual intercourse, within three weeks.
Possible risks and complications:
No surgery is completely free of possible complications, and a vasectomy reversal is a more complex procedure than a vasectomy. The following complications might occur during the first few days after your surgery:
- Hematoma: Though rare, a small blood vessel may leak in the scrotum, forming a clot. A small clot will probably dissolve with time, but a larger one may require the scrotum be reopened and drained.
- Infection: Some signs of infection are fever, chills, redness and swelling around the incision site.
For more information on Vasectomies Reversal (Vasovasostomy) visit WebMD's Infertility & Reproduction Health Center.