What Men Need to Know About a Vasectomy Reversal
If you’ve had a vasectomy and are seeking a reversal, you’re not alone. Up to 10% of men who have had vasectomies will seek a reversal at some point after the procedure.
Contrary to popular belief, vasectomies are, in fact, reversible! Fortunately, there is a 95% success rate if the vasectomy has been completed within the past 10 years. You may wish to reverse the procedure because you’ve gotten a new partner, lost a child, or just simply changed your mind. Regardless of what your circumstances are, we’re here to help.
Here are four things you should know when it comes to a vasectomy reversal.
1. Two Surgical Options for a Vasectomy Reversal
The vasectomy reversal options available to you will largely depend on certain factors, such as how much time has passed since your vasectomy, whether or not you have viable sperm in your vas deferens (the tubes that transport your sperm to the urethra, where they exit the body), and other factors your doctor will bring up with you during your appointment.
Your first option for a vasectomy reversal is a vasovasostomy. This procedure is the simpler of the two procedures and involves connecting the two ends of the vas deferens. The vasovasostomy procedure is also the most common, but it won’t always be an option to patients, depending on their unique case.
The second vasectomy reversal procedure is more complex and known as a vasoepididymostomy. Varying slightly from a vasovasostomy, this procedure also involves connecting the vas deferens to the epididymis, a tube that leads sperm into the vas deferens from the testicle.
Unfortunately, a buildup of the constant production of sperm over time has led to a sort of “leakage” outside the testicles, which can cause scarring and blockage that a simple vasovasostomy won’t solve. The vas deferens tubes are extremely small in size (the smallest being less than half the size of the head of a needle) and the vasoepididymostomy procedure should only be done by very experienced surgeons.
Discuss with your urologist which vasectomy reversal option will be best for you.
2. Vasectomy Reversal Surgery is an Outpatient Procedure
With the patient under anesthesia, both types of vasectomy reversals are outpatient procedures that generally take no more than a few hours. These surgeries are done using microscopic technology, on account of the fact that the tubes are so small.
Although you likely won’t need hospitalization, it is recommended that vasectomy reversal patients return to the urologist every two months to see when, and if, the sperm have begun to travel normally and exit the body again. For a vasovasostomy, it could take a mere three months for the sperm to return. For a vasoepididymostomy, it could take up to a year. It’s important to be patient after your vasectomy reversal to allow the sperm time to return in your ejaculate. After three to four weeks, you and your partner can begin trying to conceive.
Related: What Causes a Low Sperm Count in Men?
3. Vasectomy Reversal Recovery
Most men are able to return to normal activities within a couple days of having a vasectomy reversal, although it’s important to remember that each patient and his healing time will be different.
You should incorporate ice packs for the swelling into your care routine and be sure to provide your scrotum with some support. Being gentle with your body is very important at this time. As you are healing, the goal is to let the tubes recover from the surgery so your sperm can begin using them again. Aggressive movements too soon after surgery could cause the tubes to become undone again, requiring another surgery.
During the recovery period, your doctor will likely prescribe pain medication and caution you to avoid any physical activity, besides walking, for at least a month after your vasectomy reversal procedure.
Related: 5 Tips for a Vasectomy Recovery
4. Signs of Successful Vasectomy Reversal
Several months after your recovery, your urologist will collect semen samples to ensure the sperm have returned. While you technically never stopped producing sperm and semen, it just had no way of exiting the body. Now that you have undergone surgery, sperm and semen production will need to restabilize. Again, be patient with how quickly it may take for your production and sperm count to return to normal.
If you are still having trouble conceiving, we recommend both you and your partner get tested for infertility issues. Couple’s dealing with infertility may need to try several treatment options in order to find success.
Getting a vasectomy reversal can be an exciting time for you, although the return of your fertility is something you shouldn’t trust to just any doctor. Find an experienced surgeon and talk with them about what your options are. The better the surgeon, the more successful your surgery will be. Our doctors at USOC specialize in vasectomies and vasectomy reversals. Schedule an appointment with us to see which reversal procedure you qualify for.
Staying Healthy as a Man
As you take this step toward reversal, keep your body healthy for a better recovery and sex life. Our Man-to-Man Guide on Aging provides tips to help men of any age enjoy the wellness benefits of a healthy urinary tract. We show you what health concerns you can expect — and prevent — during each stage of your life, along with guidance on how to identify if you are at a high risk for a certain condition. Download your free copy of the guide below to get started on prioritizing your health as a man.
This content was originally published in 2015 and refreshed in 2020.