What is a vasectomy reversal?

A vasectomy reversal is a surgical procedure to reverse the results of a vasectomy.

Who can benefit from having a vasectomy reversal?

A small percentage of men who have undergone a vasectomy may decide that, due to a change in circumstances, they now wish to have children. This can be possible by restoring the patient’s fertility through performing a vasectomy reversal.

Procedure

There are two ways in which a vasectomy reversal can be carried out:

  • Vasovasostomy – This type of vasectomy reversal is the most common. Incisions (sometimes only one) are made into each side of the scrotum – similar to in your vasectomy operation. Any residing scar tissue will be removed and the tubes that were initially cut in the vasectomy – known as the vas deferens – are then sewn back together, restoring the sperm flow. Any incisions are then closed.
  • Vasoepididymostomy – A vasoepididymostomy is a more complex vasectomy reversal procedure, which involves attaching the vas deferens tubes directly to the epididymis (where sperm are stored in each testicle). Sometimes the original vasectomy or a previous vasectomy removal may have caused blockages in the vas deferens or epididymis. This procedure can bypass the blockage by connecting the vas deferens to the epididymis – above the point of the blockage. Incisions are then closed as with the vasovasostomy procedure.

Recovery period

Following your vasectomy reversal, you will need to stay in bed for a couple of days. Strenuous activities should be avoided for around a month, but you should be able to return to work in a few days. Any dissolvable stitches should disappear within 7-10 days. Avoid ejaculation and sexual intercourse for 3-4 weeks, and wear close-fitting underwear to help support the scrotum. You will need to undergo some tests at various periods following the vasectomy reversal. This is to check on the progress of the sperm flow and success of the operation, which may not become apparent for up to a year or more. Please be aware that a vasectomy reversal is not always successful, and the shorter the period of time since your original vasectomy, the more likely it is of achieving successful results.

Risks

Risks include hematoma (bleeding inside the scrotum), damage to nerves and/or blood vessels, infection, inflammation, fluid build-up, persistent pain, lowered sperm count, and an unsuccessful outcome.