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What is Vasectomy Reversal?

vasectomy reversals
Diagram of a vasectomy reversal

There are about 600,000 vasectomies performed in the US every year. A vasectomy is usually desired by an individual who wants a permanent form of birth control. The procedure is a very quick minor procedure which can be done in a NJ doctor’s office. During a vasectomy, a small segment of the vas is taken away and then the open ends are sealed. This is an effective way of blocking the sperm. It will have no effect on the male’s sex drive since testosterone is not transported through the vas. Sometimes a male will choose to get a vasectomy reversal. Even though a vasectomy is considered to be a procedure with permanent results, it is possible to have it reversed through another surgical procedure.

What is a vasectomy reversal?

A vasectomy reversal can be a challenging surgery depending on how long it has been since the vasectomy occurred. When substantial time has passed, blockages can form and some males even develop antibodies to their own sperm. This does not mean it is impossible, but it can be a more complicated procedure and take a lot more time than when it has not been as long since the original vasectomy occurred. A vasectomy reversal is done with the aid of a high powered surgical microscope. Basically the gap that was placed in the vas is rejoined so that sperm can flow freely once again. It can take as long as 2 to 3 hours to reverse the vasectomy and it is considered to be one of the most complicated and challenging surgical procedures in the field of medicine. An experienced surgeon can perform a vasectomy reversal as an outpatient procedure which will not even require an overnight stay in the hospital. This makes it one of the least expensive of all male fertility treatments.

What is the success rate for a vasectomy reversal?

In general, vasectomy reversals are more successful if they are completed inside the first 10 years after the vasectomy was performed. As time goes on the chances of having a successful reversal will decline. But the statistics in general show that after a vasectomy reversal more than half do end in pregnancy if it is done inside that 10 year time frame. The occurrence of pregnancy following a vasectomy reversal that occurs after the 10 year window drops to about 30%. One of the main factors that contributes to the success of a vasectomy reversal is the experience of the surgeon. Of course every urologist will have some knowledge of a reversal and some have even performed a few. But it is common knowledge that a technically challenging procedure like this one will have a very small number of specialists who have really achieved successful results. It is important to talk with the surgeon about his expertise and experience with performing vasectomy reversals before having the procedure done.

What are the risks associated with a vasectomy reversal?

As with any surgical procedure there is always the risk of infection at the surgery site. Other concerns could be fluid buildup in the scrotum which can be solved with draining; or injury can occur to an artery or nerve in the scrotum.

Preparing for a Vasectomy Reversal

Before having the reversal performed the doctor will want to make sure that a patient was fertile before the vasectomy was completed. Once this is certain, the physician will also want to see if there are any sperm antibodies in the semen. This will be checked again after the surgical procedure. In cases where there are sperm antibodies in the semen after the procedure it is highly unlikely that pregnancy will occur.

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