Vasectomy Reversal (Vasovasostomy)

In some cases, fertility may be restored in men who have undergone vasectomies through a reversed surgical procedure; however, it is important to know the facts.

What is a Vasectomy Reversal?

While a vasectomy is a common male sterilization procedure that should be considered a permanent method of birth control, a surgical procedure called a vasovasostomy might restore fertility.

How is a Vasectomy Reversed?

During the procedure, which usually takes two to four hours, the physician makes one or two tiny incisions in the scrotum and reconnects the vas deferens with micro-sutures, allowing sperm to travel from its origin in the testes to the penis. Normally, the patient is anesthetized (asleep) through the outpatient procedure.

What is the healing process for a Vasectomy Reversal?

Pain could be mild to moderate and patients may experience swollen, achy testicles for a week or so after the procedure. Physicians recommend lying down for six to eight hours after the surgery and keeping an ice pack on the incision.

In the five days after surgery, patients should continue using ice packs to limit swelling, rest as much as possible and avoid heavy lifting and exercise. A small, bloody discharge from the incision site is normal. The patient should be able to resume normal activities, including sex, within three weeks.

Risk Factors:

A vasectomy reversal is a more complex procedure than a vasectomy and it might not be covered by health insurance. The following complications might occur a few days after surgery:

  • Hematoma: Though rare, a small blood vessel may leak in the scrotum, forming a clot. A small clot will probably dissolve with time, but a larger one may require reopening and draining the scrotum.
  • Infection: Signs of infection include fever, chills, redness, and swelling around the incision site.

How successful is a Vasectomy Reversal?

A vasectomy reversal is not guaranteed to restore fertility and success rates tend to decline with time after a vasectomy. Other blockages can form, and some men develop antibodies that could attack their sperm. Success rates are greatest within three years and up to 10 years of a vasectomy. Overall, estimated pregnancy results can range from 50% to as high as 80%.