They say that few decisions in life are irreversible, which can certainly be said of a surgical procedure like a vasectomy. Life takes twists and turns, and if you find yourself in the position of rethinking your decision to put an end to your ability to father a child, we’ve got good news: There is a way to reverse a vasectomy.
Here at our urology practice, Dr. Robert J. Cornell and our team help men in the Houston area with a host of reproductive and sexual health issues, from erectile dysfunction to scalpel-free vasectomies. If you’ve undergone a vasectomy, but you want to hit the reset button on that choice, we can help with our vasectomy reversal procedure.
Here’s a look at what a vasectomy reversal entails and its promising success rates.
When we perform a vasectomy, it’s a simple procedure in which Dr. Cornell blocks off your vas deferens, preventing your sperm from mixing in with your semen. And this point is important, because we don’t interfere with your body’s ability to make sperm, which it still does after a vasectomy. We simply throw up a roadblock that keeps it from moving into your semen and impregnating a woman.
To dismantle the block, Dr. Cornell goes in using microsurgical techniques to reconnect your vas deferens. This procedure isn’t as simple as your original vasectomy, as Dr. Cornell needs to stitch the two tubes back together very delicately using a very fine material. That said, he’s still able to perform the reversal on an outpatient basis.
But this procedure, which is called a vasovasostomy, may not be available to you and here’s why. When we start your reversal procedure, we run a test on the fluid (called vasal fluid) nearest where your vas deferens was blocked to determine whether there’s sperm present. If your vasal fluid contains sperm, we proceed as planned. If it doesn’t, it indicates a problem somewhere in your epididymal tube.
But not even this development can stop us from restoring your fertility. Instead, we turn to a procedure called a vasoepididymostomy in which we attach the upper end of your vas deferens directly to your epididymis, which is a coil-like structure that’s attached to your testes.
Just to get more confusing, there are times when Dr. Cornell needs to perform a vasovasostomy on one side and a vasoepididymostomy on the other.
While a vasoepididymostomy is a little more complicated, Dr. Cornell can still perform it during the outpatient procedure.
Now that you understand how we can reverse your vasectomy, let’s cut right to the chase with success rates. The American Urological Association reports that a vasovasostomy has an 85% success rate and pregnancy occurs in about 55 out of 100 partners when microsurgery is used. And the rates for a vasoepididymostomy are nearly as good.
But you will need to be patient. While some men are able to impregnate their partners within months, others may take a year or two. Timing does play a role, and the shorter the time between your vasectomy and the reversal, the better. But even with a wide gap between procedures, your sperm should still be able to retrace their steps back to your semen, albeit it a little more slowly.
We test you every couple months after your procedure to check for sperm, and we should see evidence within a few months. From there, we continue to check to make sure that your sperm counts are within good ranges (although we obviously stop if your partner gets pregnant).
Your reversal should hold up moving forward, though 5% of men do experience scarring that again blocks their sperm.
If you’d like to learn more about a vasectomy reversal, please give us a call or use the online scheduling tool to set up a consultation.