Some 500,000 men in the United States opt to undergo a vasectomy each year.
A birth control solution for men, a vasectomy is performed by surgically cutting or blocking the tubes (vas deferens) that carry sperm from the testicles to the penis. When the vas deferens are cut or blocked, sperm is prevented from exiting the body with semen. Without sperm in the semen, a woman’s egg cannot be fertilized in the usual manner.
A vasectomy doesn’t affect a man’s sex drive or his ability to ejaculate.
It is considered a permanent contraceptive method and is effective 99% of the time. However, for those men who change their minds about having children – nearly 1,500 of them a year – the procedure can be reversed.
The success of a vasectomy reversal depends on how much time transpires between the original vasectomy and the reversal. The greatest success is when the procedure is performed within 3 years of the original vasectomy. However, patients of Dr. Desiderio Avila exceed the national average success rate.
What to Expect
A fluid sample from the vas deferens prior to surgery will decide which type of vasectomy reversal is right for you. Your surgeon will examine the fluid to determine the amount of sperm that is present. The vitality of the sperm is also considered.
Patients of Dr. Desiderio Avila will undergo various tests to determine their candidacy for the procedure. Men with semen that doesn’t contain antibodies are good candidates for a vasectomy reversal procedure. Fertility prior to the vasectomy can also indicate that the procedure will be successful.
There are two types of reversal procedures, each of which are performed under general anesthesia on an outpatient basis. The surgeries aren’t considered dangerous and last approximately 3-4 hours.
- Vasovasostomy. This procedure reconnects the tube that stores and transports sperm in two layers, using an operating microscope during the procedure. The reversal takes longer than a vasectomy, which generally lasts around 15 minutes.
- Vasoepididymostomy. This procedure involves bypassing a blocked vas deferens and reconnecting it to the testicle above where the blockage is located. This procedure is more complicated and takes longer to perform than a vasovasostomy.
Following a vasectomy reversal, you may be sore and should limit your activities, including exercise and heavy lifting. You should be able to return to work within a few days. Do not resume sexual intercourse until the doctor says it is fine to do so – usually 2-3 weeks after surgery.
Immediately following surgery, the patient should wear underwear that fits snugly. An athletic supporter is also recommended following surgery and in the weeks ahead. Your doctor will place bandages over the incision after the surgery is completed. Your doctor will tell you when it is OK to remove the bandages.
How to Know if the Reversal Was a Success
Sperm levels will be checked periodically following surgery until there are no more left. It can take weeks for sperm that was already in the vas deferens prior to surgery to exit the body. Until you get the all-clear from your doctor, you should continue to use another method of birth control.
Dr. Desiderio Avila Jr. is a board-certified urologist and one of the leading reversal surgeons in the United States. If you’re considering a vasectomy reversal and would like to book an appointment, please call (480) 961-2323.