A vasectomy reversal procedure is a delicate surgery performed for men who have previously had a vasectomy. While a vasectomy is performed for permanent birth control, surgery can be done to help men become fertile again and father more children.
During a vasectomy, the vas deferens (the tube that carries sperm from the testicle) is separated. A vasectomy reversal procedure is done to re-establish the flow of sperm from the testicle into the ejaculate, making the man fertile again.
A vasectomy reversal procedure is very safe, with few complications, but is more involved than the initial vasectomy. The vas deferens are about the size of a round shoelace, and the inner channel measures about half of a millimeter. The sutures used are nearly invisible to the naked eye, making the use of microsurgical magnification essential. To obtain the high success rates seen at microsurgical practices like ours, the vasectomy procedure must be done with an operating microscope.
All procedures are performed in a microsurgical suite as an outpatient setting, with patients going home the same day. The procedure takes roughly three hours and is performed with general anesthesia. All the stitches used are buried under the skin and do not require removal, minimizing post-operative discomfort.
You will receive a detailed instruction sheet at the time of discharge about your vasectomy reversal recovery and post-surgical care.
During the first 5-7 days of your vasectomy reversal recovery, stay at home and off your feet as much as possible to minimize swelling and discomfort. Be certain to follow the instructions regarding the use of ice and pain medications carefully, as this will greatly diminish the discomfort, which can include slight swelling, bruising, or discoloration in the scrotal area. In addition, the anesthesia may leave you with mild nausea, dizziness, headaches, or body aches in the first day or two after your vasectomy reversal surgery. If you develop chills, fever, escalating or excessive pain, swelling, or drainage from the incisions, please notify Dr. Morris immediately, as these can be signs of infection.
Twenty-four hours after surgery, it is safe to enjoy the soothing comfort of a shower. However, we recommend you resist the urge to soak in the bath. Tub baths, especially in the 48 hours after your surgery, can increase infection risk and promote swelling. Driving is strongly discouraged, particularly if pain medications are still being used. It is preferable not to leave home the first week after surgery.
After 2 weeks, it is permissible to experience ejaculation, particularly if there is only minimal residual discomfort. After 3 weeks, all physical activities may resume. It is important to wear a supportive garment (snug shorts or athletic supporter) during all physical activity after surgery. If pain increases, reduce activity and use ice for 24-48 hours. Activity can then be re-attempted slowly.
Fertility following vasectomy reversal surgery.
Sperm flow through the surgical site begins immediately in many patients but can take up to a full year for more difficult reconstructions. It is important to check intermittent sperm samples to be certain that the vasectomy reversal has been successful and to watch for any signs of delayed scarring or worsening sperm counts. Dr. Morris will schedule a semen analysis every 3-4 months the first year after surgery to monitor progress closely.