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Vasectomy Reversal

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Learn more about vasectomy reversal at King Edward VII’s Hospital

Why would I need a vasectomy reversal?

Most patients requiring this type of surgery choose to have it because they want to reverse their decision to have a vasectomy. A vasectomy means that a man cannot father a child through sex, and some men decide later on that they’d like to father children or further children either with the same partner or because they have a new partner.

What symptoms does a vasectomy reversal address?

A vasectomy reversal increases the chances that a person who’s previously had a vasectomy, can go on to have children.

When should you speak to your specialist about a vasectomy reversal?

If you’ve had a vasectomy in the past and you’d like to have it reversed, speak to your specialist about your suitability for this procedure. The shorter the time between your vasectomy and a vasectomy reversal, the higher the chance that you’ll be able to father a child. Your success rate may also depend on whether your vas deferens were tied or sealed during your vasectomy.

How is a vasectomy reversal performed?

A vasectomy reversal is usually performed under a general anaesthetic and can take between 2 and 4 hours. Most patients can return home the same day, but some require an overnight stay in hospital.

During the procedure, your surgeon will make two small cuts in the skin of your scrotum to gain access to your vas deferens. They will then cut the tubes either side of where they’d been previously tied or sealed.

Your surgeon will then test the seminal fluid from your vas deferens to check for the presence of sperm. If there is sperm present, it means that there is no blockage in your tubes, and they will then stitch the two cut ends together to create a seamless passage for sperm from your testicles to your penis.

If there is no sperm present, it could indicate a blockage meaning that the procedure becomes more complex. Your surgeon will then need to join your vas deferens directly to your epididymis, the small tubes that store sperm from your testicles.

Either way, the cuts in your scrotum will then be closed using dissolvable stitches.

What is the recovery like for a vasectomy reversal?

Your recovery from vasectomy reversal surgery will depend on multiple factors, including your age, fitness level and the nature of your procedure and your general level of health.

You can expect to feel some discomfort in your testicles following a vasectomy reversal, and this can last up to a week. This can be relieved with paracetamol or ibuprofen. During this time, you should refrain from lifting heavy objects or taking part in sports or exercise, and only continue with these activities after two weeks.

You should also wear fitted underwear that will support your testicles and avoid sexual activity for four weeks. Three months after your procedure, you will be invited to produce a semen sample to test for the presence of sperm.

Your surgeon will discuss the recovery process with you and recommend the best course of action for your recovery period.

Are there any risks/complications associated with a vasectomy reversal?

As with any medical procedure, it’s possible for risks or complications to arise. Speaking with your specialist or surgeon beforehand will help you avoid any adverse reactions.

Vasectomy reversal surgery has a relatively low risk of serious complications, but the following risks and complications can occur in a small number of cases:

• Infection
• Bleeding
• Blood in your semen
• Testicular pain
• Damage to the blood vessels in the area
• Damage to the vas deferens
• Scar tissue
• Failure of the procedure

How can I prepare for a vasectomy reversal?

Prior to a vasectomy reversal, your surgeon will discuss with you how best to prepare, as each patient is different with differing needs. It’s advisable to learn as much as you can about your procedure beforehand and discuss any concerns with your surgeon.

Common preparations for surgery include a general health assessment and routine blood tests, x rays or scans as requested by your surgeon.

A good level of general wellbeing will prepare you for a better outcome after surgery so it’s recommended that you eat healthily, exercise regularly if possible and cut back on smoking and drinking.

Prepare your home prior to surgery so that you’re comfortable whilst you’re recovering and plan to have someone take you home from hospital. Your specialist will discuss any specific preparations that you should make prior to surgery.

Are there alternatives for vasectomy reversal surgery?

If you’d rather not have a vasectomy reversal, but you’d like the chance to father a child, you may be suitable for an assisted fertility treatment called ICSI (intracytoplasmic sperm injection).

During this procedure, your specialist will remove sperm directly from your testicles and then use it during an IVF procedure to fertilise an egg. Your specialist will be able to discuss your options with you, depending on your circumstances.


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