Vasectomy reversal is surgery to undo a vasectomy. It reconnects each tube (vas deferens) that carries sperm from a testicle into the semen. After a successful vasectomy reversal, sperm are again present in the semen, and you may be able to get your partner pregnant.
Pregnancy rates after vasectomy reversal will range from about 30 percent to over 90 percent, depending on the type of procedure. Many factors affect whether a reversal is successful in achieving pregnancy, including time since a vasectomy, partner age, surgeon experience and training, and whether or not you had fertility issues before your vasectomy.
Why it’s done
Men decide to have a vasectomy reversal for a number of reasons, including loss of a child, a change of heart or remarriage. A small number of men have a vasectomy reversal to treat testicular pain that may be linked to a vasectomy.
During the procedure
During surgery, your doctor will make a small cut (incision) on your scrotum. This will expose the tube that carries sperm (vas deferens) and release it from surrounding tissues.
Next, the doctor will cut open the vas deferens and examine the fluid inside. When sperm are present in the fluid, the ends of the vas deferens can be connected to re-establish the passageway for sperm.
If the fluid contains no sperm, scar tissue may be blocking sperm flow. In this case, your doctor may choose to perform a vasoepididymostomy.
Robot-assisted surgery has been used for vasectomy reversal, but usually is required only in select cases.
After the procedure
Immediately after surgery, your doctor will cover the incisions with bandages. You’ll put on tightfitting undergarments, such as an athletic supporter, and apply ice for 24 to 48 hours to reduce swelling.
You may be sore for several days. If your doctor places bandages over the incisions after your surgery, ask when it’s OK to take them off. Any stitches should dissolve in seven to 10 days.
After you return home, take it easy and try to limit activities that might cause the testicles to move around excessively. As the anesthetic wears off, you may have some pain and swelling. For most men, the pain isn’t severe and gets better after a few days to a week.
Your doctor may also give you the following instructions:
- Wear an athletic supporter for several weeks at all times, except when showering. After that, you’ll need to continue to wear one when you exercise.
- For the first two days after surgery, avoid anything that might get the surgery site wet, such as bathing or swimming.
- Limit any activities that may pull on the testicles or scrotum, such as jogging, sporting activities, biking or heavy lifting, for at least six to eight weeks after surgery.
- If you have a desk job, you’ll probably be able to return to work a few days after surgery. If you perform physical labor or have a job that requires much walking or driving, talk to your doctor about when it’s safe to go back to work.
- Don’t have sexual intercourse or ejaculate until your doctor says it’s OK. Most men need to refrain from ejaculating for two to three weeks after surgery.