FAQ's on Vasectomy Reversals
- Why do men get vasectomy reversals?
- How common are vasectomy reversals?
- Can any vasectomy be reversed?
- How successful are vasectomy reversals?
- What is the difference between the laser vasectomy reversal and a microsurgical vasectomy reversal?
- Which vasectomy reversal technique is better and/or preferred?
- How can I get a vasectomy reversal information packet and set-up a consultation?
1. Why do men get vasectomy reversals?
There are several common reasons for men to want their vasectomy reversed. The commonality is either the desire to have more children or to feel more like they did before their vasectomy. More than half of men seeking vasectomy reversal are doing so because of a new marriage and the desire to have a family with their new partner. The remaining men choosing to have their vasectomies reversed do so for a variety of reasons, including the desire to end "post-vasectomy pain syndrome," or for religious or spiritual reasons. The success for all of these men hinges on how well the reversal center counsels them as to what to expect in addition to the experience and skill of the microsurgeon.
2. How common are vasectomy reversals?
Each year about 30,000 men in the USA will have their vasectomy reversed. The reasons for vasectomy reversal vary, but it is safe to say at the time of their vasectomy these men never suspected they would want to have it reversed. But like many things in life, circumstances change requiring a large group of men to seek a vasectomy reversal. The success of the vasectomy reversal is highest when done by experienced microsurgeons. Of the 10 to 15% of vasectomy reversals that fail (meaning no sperm is found in the semen post-reversal), most men are still better served by a re-do vasectomy reversal than proceeding to In-Vitro Fertilization.
3. Can any vasectomy be reversed?
Often, during a vasectomy reversal consultation, men express concern that "their" vasectomy was done in such a way that it cannot be reversed. This is typically what the doctor performing the vasectomy told them at the time of their procedure. It is routine in a vasectomy to use metal clips, permanent suture, and/or cautery in addition to removing a segment of vas from each side. After all, the goal of vasectomy it to prevent unwanted pregnancies. Indeed, no one at the time of vasectomy expects they will ever want it reversed, but virtually any vasectomy can be reversed successfully. Fortunately, any technique used for the original vasectomy can be successfully reversed by an experienced microsurgeon.
The two types of vasectomy reversal reconstructions are vaso-vasostomy and vaso-epididymostomy. The type of reconstruction required is determined at the time of surgery. Many men are concerned that their testicle will be in a higher location in order to make up the gap of the vasectomy. It is extremely rare for there to be any change in the position of the testicle after a vasectomy reversal. The purpose of the pre-reversal consultation is to discuss all of these concerns in order to gain understanding and confidence in a vasectomy reversal center and microsurgeon.
4. How successful are vasectomy reversals?
Vasectomy reversal is very successful when done by an experienced microsurgeon. The most important technical advance in vasectomy reversal medicine is the use of the high-powered operating microscope. The operating microscope increases the chances for a successful vasectomy reversal by 25 to 50%, even when compared to loupe magnification (magnifying glasses). The vas lumen (channel through which the sperm travel) is about 0.5 mm wide. Precise suture placement of sutures too small to even see with the naked eye is the most critical technical aspect for a successful vasectomy reversal. Loupe lenses only magnify by 2 to 3 times, whereas the operating microscope allows the surgeon to magnify the vas ends and suture by 40 times!
Most community doctors do not use the operating microscope regularly enough to use it to their benefit. Most microsurgeons agree that a surgeon needs to have performed at least 300 surgeries using the operating microscope in order to be able to offer the vasectomy reversal patient good results. The quoted rate of success for vasectomy reversal only applies to surgeons who perform at least 100 microscopic vasectomy reversals a year. The more experienced centers perform over 200 microscopic reversals a year. Like anything else that takes practice, the more you do, the better you get. Too often, community doctors quote couples a 90% or greater chance for vasectomy reversal success. This is true only in the hands of the most experienced microsurgeons. If your doctor gives you such a success rate, be sure to ask what his success rate is. If he does not know, you should look for a reversal center that provides their actual success rate, not that of vasectomy reversal procedures as a whole. It is at these reversal centers where the reversal candidate will get the most pre- and post-reversal counseling and medical support. This counseling is important to learn the "do's and don'ts" in preparation for and following a vasectomy reversal. The maximum success cannot be attained without education, counseling and support.
5. What is the difference between the laser vasectomy reversal and a microsurgical vasectomy reversal?
A laser vasectomy reversal utilizes a laser to melt the tissues together. This technique actually causes tissue destruction and blood vessel injury and reduces the chances of a successful vasectomy reversal.
A microsurgical vasectomy reversal is performed by an experienced microsurgeon using specialized instruments, including an operating microscope and fine sutures.
6. Which vasectomy reversal technique is better and/or preferred?
A microsurgical vasectomy reversal is vastly superior to a laser vasectomy reversal since it provides a higher chance of regaining fertility and is an overall safer technique.
7. How can I get a vasectomy reversal information packet and set-up a consultation?
Contact us today or call 1.888.722.2929