A vasovasostomy is a surgical procedure in which the effects of a vasectomy (male sterilization) are reversed. During a vasectomy, the vasa deferentia, which are ducts that carry sperm from the testicles to the seminal vesicles, are cut, tied, cauterized (burned or seared), or otherwise interrupted. A vasovasostomy creates an opening between the separated ends of each vas deferens so that the sperm may enter the semen before ejaculation. The purpose of vasovasostomy is to restore a man’s fertility, whereas a vasectomy, or male sterilization, is performed to provide reliable contraception. Therefore, the vasectomy definition is the restoration of men’s fertility or a vasectomy reversal.
There are two types of vasectomy reversal surgical procedures:
Vasovasostomy: The severed ends of the vas deferens are sewn back together.
Vasoepididymostomy: The vas deferens is surgically re-attached directly to the epididymis. This procedure is more difficult to perform and is used when vasovasostomy cannot be performed or does not work.
Vasovasostomy procedure – How is it performed?
During the procedure, the physician reconnects the severed ends of the vas deferens to allow the free flow of sperm. It is usually an outpatient procedure that takes two to four hours.
Normally, the patient is anesthetized (asleep) through the procedure. The physician will make one or two tiny incisions in the skin of the scrotum, and the vas deferens are reconnected through carefully placed microsurgical sutures.
Risks associated with this procedure
No surgery is completely free of possible complications, and a vasectomy reversal is a more complex procedure than a vasectomy. The following complications might occur during the first few days after your surgery:
- Epididymitis (inflammation of the epididymis)
- Testicular atrophy
Recovery time for a vasovasostomy
Pain following a vasovasostomy is not uncommon and could be mild to moderate. In the recovery period, you may experience swollen, achy testicles for a week or so after the procedure. Physicians recommend that you lie down for six to eight hours after the surgery and keep an ice pack on the incision. At home, the following post-operative care is recommended after a vasovasostomy procedure:
- Avoid bathing, 24-48 hours after the procedure
- Ice bags should be applied for 20 minutes, every hour, for the next 6-8 hours
- Avoid strenuous work for the next 2-3 days
- Regularly take the pain-killers and antibiotics, prescribed by the physician
You should be able to resume your normal activities, including sexual intercourse, within three weeks following the procedure.
Vasovasostomy success rate
The vasovasostomy success rate depends on the skills of the surgeon performing this procedure. Statistics show that men who had vasovasostomy could be fertile short after the procedure and the effect did not decline.
Usually, vasovasostomy has a 98% success rate and a pregnancy success rate between 60-80%. The patiency rate refers to the success of sperm returning to the ejaculate. The pregnancy rate is usually lower than the patiency rate because pregnancy depends also on female fertility. The success depends on the sperm passage. If the passage is blocked upstream near the testicles, then a vasoepididymostomy is required. Talk with your doctor about your options.