Vasectomies are intended to permanently limit men from having biological kids and while it’s considered to be permanent, vasectomy is reversible.
Undergoing a vasectomy involves disconnecting the tubes that transport sperms into the semen. Reversing the vasectomy will involve reconnecting the disconnected tubes.
According to Mayo Clinic, the success rate of vasectomy reversal is 40 to over 90%. There are a number of reasons why men opt to reverse a vasectomy, which include remarriage, the loss of a child or pain as a result of a previous vasectomy.
How does a reverse vasectomy work?
A reversal can be done via two methods; vasovasostomy or vasoepididymostomy.
The first method, vasovasostomy, involves sewing back the vas deferens to the penis. The second method is more difficult than the first.
It’s a method that doctors prefer not to perform unless they are sure that vasovasostomy won’t work. It involves sewing the vas deferens to the epididymis.
Both methods are performed in clinics or hospitals using anesthesia. The procedure takes 2-4 hours and the patient is released on the same day. It takes about 2 weeks to fully recover.
Risks associated with vasectomy reversals
Vasectomy reversals will rarely lead to any serious complications, however, there is slight chance of minor complications. Also, the success rate decrease with every vasectomy reverse performed on you. This means that if you have undergone the procedure before, the success rate of the next reversal is lower. The risks include:
- Chronic pain– you are likely to experience persistent pain after the surgery. Chronic pain is a common complication of vasectomy reversal and takes a while for the pain to subside.
- Infection– It is very uncommon to experience infection on the area where the surgery was performed. However, like any other surgery there is always a risk of infection. Consult the doctor if the infection worsens.
- Bleeding– the doctor’s orders after surgery is that you should rest and allow your body time to heal. If you decide to go against the doctor’s orders it could lead to bleeding in your scrotum. If the bleeding is not stopped, it collects in the scrotum forming a painful swelling. To avoid this, it is advisable that you follow the doctor’s orders after surgery and be sure to confirm if you are allowed to take blood thinners.
Recovery ranges from 5-14 days and doctors recommend that you abstain from sex and any heavy lifting during the first four weeks. It will take 3-15 months for you ejaculate viable sperms.
What’s the cost of a vasectomy reversal?
The cost of a vasectomy reversal ranges from a few thousand dollars to upwards of $25K. The cost varies depending on a number of factors which include:
- Surgeon’s fee– working with an experienced surgeon with 10+ years in field is likely to cost you more than working with a less qualified surgeon. It also improve your chances of success. You’ll pay more for an experienced surgeon with extensive urological expertise which is totally worth it considering the high success rate of experienced surgeons.
- Type of vasectomy reversal– there are two methods that this surgery can be performed; vasovasostomy or vasoepididymostomy. The second method is more complicated and requires a more experienced surgeon thus it’s more expensive.
- Anesthesia– anesthesia is administered to the patient to ensure he is relaxed during the reversal.
- Semen Analysis– To confirm whether the surgery was a success, you are required to undergo a semen assessment every month following the procedure.
- Follow-up appointments and medications– post operative care is vital in the recovery process. Medication such as antibiotics, anti-inflammatory and painkillers may be prescribed by the doctor after the procedure.
What to expect before, during and after the procedure
Before you undergo the procedure, your doctor will examine you to confirm that you have no underling issues that might complicate the surgery.
The doctor will check your history as well as examine you to check for any health concerns. You might also require a sperm check to confirm whether you are producing viable/healthy sperms. Having fathered kids before is no guarantee that you are still producing healthy sperms. Additional tests help confirm the viability of your sperms.
The reversal is performed in a hospital or clinic on an outpatient basis. The doctor will use either general or local anesthesia during surgery.
A reversal is difficult compared to a vasectomy thus it requires experienced surgeons. The method to be used is decided during the surgery after the doctor analyzes fluid from the vas deferens in search of sperms.
During the procedure
The doctor makes a small incision on the scrotum exposing the vas deferens. It’s then cut open and fluid inside the vas deferens is examined for presence of sperms. If the fluid has sperms, the doctor uses the vasovasostomy method to reconnect the vas deferens. If the fluid is pasty and doesn’t contain sperms, the doctor will perform a vasoepididymostomy. This method is used when a scar tissue is blocking the sperm flow.
After the procedure
After performing the procedure, the doctor uses bandages to cover the incisions and you are required to wear tight-fitting undergarments. Applying ice on the area helps reduce the swelling.
The stitches takes 7-10 days to dissolve after which it should be okay to take the bandage off. Once you get home, you are required to limit sexual activities or any other activities that will jiggle your balls.
It takes about 3-15 months to completely heal and produce viable sperms which is a sign of a successful vasectomy reversal. After 6 weeks, you are required to undergo a check up to examine your semen for any sperms.
It might take more than a year for the sperms to appear and actually impregnate a woman.
However, there is also a chance that the reversal failed either due to an underlying issue or a blockage that developed after surgery.
If it doesn’t work, you can undergo the procedure a second time or opt for invitro fertilization. It a simple procedure that involves retrieving sperms directly from your epididymis or testicles.