Vasectomy Reversal: What Men Need to Know

When a man changes his mind about having children following a vasectomy, he may consider having a vasectomy reversal. The reversal of the vasectomy, also referred to a vasovasostomy, is often an option for these men. However, since a vasectomy is designed to be a form of permanent birth control, this does not necessarily guarantee that the reversal will be successful. In addition to this, the vasovasostomy is a medical procedure and it is important to understand that as with any type of medical procedure, there are some risks involved.

Understanding the Procedure

The reversal is typically an outpatient procedure that does not require a hospital stay. It is almost always performed under general anesthesia or with a spinal tap. This is not only to decrease any pain that is associated with the procedure, but to ensure that the patient does not move. In most cases, the entire process is completed in under three hours, unless there is a blockage and an additional procedure may be required to restore fertility. This does not include recovery time from the anesthesia.

What to Expect After the Procedure

The man can expect to experience some pain and mild discomfort following a vasectomy reversal. It is not uncommon to experience bruising and swelling to the scrotal area as well. Stitches will typically be in place and will dissolve on their own. During the first two days, the surgeon may recommend that the patient “take it easy”, elevate the feet and apply ice packs as needed. A support garment is usually prescribed for at least the first two weeks, sometimes less. The man may return to work in as little as three days, but this will depend on the occupation due to the level of strain placed on the body.

Potential Complications

As previously mentioned, there are risks associated with any type of medical procedure. Although the risks associated with a vasectomy reversal are considered quite low, there is still the possibility. Risks can include but is not limited to problems as a result of anesthesia, infection at the site, bleeding and a build up of fluid within the scrotal area. In some cases, damage may also be done to the nerves or even the arteries within this area of the body. Due to these potential complications, not every man will be a good candidate for this procedure, such as those with certain health conditions for example.

Success Rates

The success of the vasectomy reversal can significantly vary from one man to the next, based on several different factors. However, one of the most prominent determining factors is in regards to how long ago the vasectomy was performed. According to research, the most favorable odds of fathering a child is when it has been ten years or less, the less time the better. The best chances are within three years of the vasectomy. The longer the man waits to have the reversal procedure, the slimmer his chances become.