Patients are strongly encouraged to consider the vasectomy as a permanent procedure. Though a successful vasectomy reversal is certainly possible, the original intention of the vasectomy is permanent contraception. It can be reversed with the help of an experienced, trained microsurgeon, but the potential need for reversal should be weighed when deciding whether to undergo a vasectomy.
One alternative that patients use if they are unsure if they’d like to have children in the future is to freeze their sperm. However, for those who are now ready to reverse their vasectomies, here is how the procedure works.
A vasovasostomy is the standard vasectomy-reversal procedure during which the separated ends of a man’s vas deferens are reconnected. This will allow sperm to re-enter the patient’s semen. Prior to the procedure, the vas fluid (sperm) is analyzed and screened for quality. The procedure takes about the same length of time as the original vasectomy, and recovery is similar.
In cases where no vas fluid is found or the fluid is of poor quality, a vasoepididymostomy can be performed instead. This is a highly complex procedure that is needed about 30% of the time in reversal cases. Your surgeon will need to determine if no vas fluid or poor-quality fluid is due to a blockage in the epididymis upstream and if this blockage has caused inflammation to occur since the original vasectomy.
If this is the case, your surgeon will connect the vas deferens directly to the epididymal tubule in order to restore the normal progression of sperm. Our partner, Male Fertility & Sexual Medicine Specialists, does not charge patients extra if a vasoepididymostomy is required.
Factors that can impact vasectomy reversal success:
- The location of the original vasectomy (how close it is to the testicle)
- The amount of time that has passed since the original vasectomy
- The patient’s overall health
Dr. Martin Bastuba of the San Diego Vasectomy Center is the founder and medical director of Male Fertility & Sexual Medicine Specialists, where he performs microsurgeries that include the vasectomy-reversal procedure. If you are interested in the procedure, we encourage you to schedule a consult with Dr. Bastuba today.