Surgery Overview

A vasectomy is considered a permanent method
of
birth control. Vasectomy reversal (vasovasostomy)
reconnects the tubes (vas deferens) that were cut during a
vasectomy.

Vasectomy reversal is usually
an outpatient procedure (without an overnight stay in the hospital).
Spinal or general anesthesia is commonly used to
ensure that you stay completely still during the surgery.

The
chances of vasectomy reversal success depend on how much time has passed
between the vasectomy and the reversal. Over time, additional blockages can
form, and some men develop
antibodies to their own sperm.

The
surgery is more complicated and takes more time when blockage between the vas
deferens and the
epididymis
requires correction
(vasoepididymostomy).

What To Expect After Surgery

Vasectomy reversal usually takes from
2 to 4 hours, followed by a few more hours for recovery from the anesthetic.
You can expect to go home the same day.

Pain may be mild to
moderate. You should be able to resume normal activities, including sex, within
3 weeks.

Why It Is Done

Vasectomy reversal is done when
you have had a vasectomy and now want to be fertile.

How Well It Works

Chances of a successful vasectomy
reversal decline over time. Reversals are more successful during the first 10
years after vasectomy.footnote 1

In general,
vasectomy reversal:footnote 2

  • Leads to overall pregnancy rates of greater
    than 50%.
  • Has the greatest chance of success within 3 years of the
    vasectomy.
  • Leads to pregnancy only about 30% of the time if the
    reversal is done 10 years after vasectomy.

Risks

Risks of vasectomy reversal include:

  • Infection at the site of
    surgery.
  • Fluid buildup in the scrotum (hydrocele) that may require
    draining.
  • Injury to the arteries or nerves in the scrotum.

What To Think About

Before a vasectomy reversal is
done, your doctor will want to confirm that you were fertile before your
vasectomy.

You can have tests to see whether you have sperm
antibodies in your semen before and after vasectomy reversal. If there are
sperm antibodies in your semen after surgery, your partner is unlikely to
become pregnant. In such a case, you may wish to try
in vitro fertilization with
intracytoplasmic sperm injection.

Complete the surgery information form (PDF) (What is a PDF document?) to help you prepare for this surgery.

References

Citations

  1. Roncari D, Jou MY (2011). Female and male sterilization. In RA Hatcher, et al., eds., Contraceptive Technology, 20th rev. ed., pp. 435-482. New York: Ardent Media.
  2. Speroff L, Darney PD (2011). Sterilization. In A Clinical Guide for Contraception, 5th ed., pp. 381-404. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams and Wilkins.

Credits

ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Kathleen Romito, MD – Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Rebecca Sue Uranga, MD – Obstetrics and Gynecology

Current as ofMarch 16, 2017