If you’re considering undergoing a vasectomy reversal, you may be doing a lot of research to learn more about the procedure, success rate, and recovery time, and find the best vasectomy reversal surgeons in Canada.
We’ve partnered with Dr. Premal Patel, a top urologist specializing in vasectomy reversal procedures at Surgical Solutions Network Surgical Centre Winnipeg, to share five facts you should know before a vasectomy reversal.
1. What is a vasectomy reversal and how is it performed?
The main principle of a vasectomy reversal is to reconnect the vas deferens to allow the flow of sperm and enable fertility.
How It’s Done
Vasectomy reversals are typically performed under general anesthesia and can take 3 to 3.5 hours to perform. In general, two small incisions on the scrotum (similar to a vasectomy but larger) are required to perform the procedure. The procedure is typically a day surgery, meaning you will go home the same day. It is recommended to take it easy for 24 hours with no intercourse, masturbation, or physical activity for two weeks.
For the first 2 to 3 days after surgery, expect mild to moderate swelling and tenderness in the scrotum. Discomfort is typically managed effectively with prescribed pain medication or over-the-counter medication. Supportive underwear is recommended for the first week post-procedure and applying ice as directed. Patients can shower 48 hours after surgery. Baths should be avoided for at least two weeks. All sutures will dissolve and do not need to be removed.
2. What should I look for in a surgeon when considering a vasectomy reversal?
Make sure the surgeon you choose for vasectomy reversal has the following qualifications:
Is a Urologist
Your vasectomy reversal specialist should be a urologist. They are the only specialists with years of residency training and training in male reproductive anatomy and surgery. Urologists are qualified to identify whether a patient is a good candidate for a vasectomy reversal and understand how to perform complex microsurgical vasectomy reversals. Given urologists’ vast experience with scrotal/testicular surgery, they are the ideal surgeons to perform your vasectomy reversal.
Has Microsurgical Training
Your vasectomy reversal specialist should have microsurgical training. The ability to perform a vasectomy reversal under an operating microscope is paramount to ensuring a successful outcome. Many physicians perform vasectomy reversals under loupes (magnifying glasses), which does not have equivalent success rates as using an operating microscope.
Understands Optimal Techniques
Your vasectomy reversal specialist must look for sperm at the time of surgery to perform the correct reconstructive procedure. No doctor can predict what type of reconnection is required (vasovasostomy or vasoepididymostomy). Looking for sperm at the time of surgery allows the surgeon to know which procedure will have the highest chance of success. If sperm is present, then a vasovasostomy (vas to vas) is required. If no sperm are seen, this typically suggests a vasoepididymostomy (vas to epididymis) is required. Only a few sub-specialty urologists are trained to perform vasoepididymostomy.
3. If a vasectomy was performed many years ago, can it be reversed?
In general, most, if not all, vasectomies can be reversed with varying success rates. However, those reversed earlier (typically less than 10 years), have the highest chance of success. The longer the duration since vasectomy increases the chance of secondary blockages making the need for a vasoepididymostomy higher, which decreases the chance of overall success (~65% return of sperm in the ejaculate if performed on both sides versus >95% if a vasovasostomy is performed).
4. What are the success rates following a vasectomy reversal?
The goal of a vasectomy reversal should be to have a baby. Although a vasectomy reversal may be successful (sperm return to the ejaculate), conception requires proper evaluation of the male and female partner. As such, your vasectomy reversal specialist should be a urologist but, ideally, a urologist trained in the subspecialty of male reproductive urology. During your consultation, your specialist should determine if there are any potential female factors that would compromise the success of conception and whether a thorough female evaluation is required.
With respect to success rates, if a vasovasostomy is performed (vas to vas), the chance of sperm returning in the ejaculate is greater than 95% and can take 3 to 6 months from surgery. If a vasoepididymostomy is required on both sides (vas to epididymis), the chance of sperm returning can be ~65% and can take up to 1 year from surgery.
5. When can I start trying to conceive after a vasectomy reversal?
It is recommended to avoid masturbation, intercourse, and heavy lifting for two weeks after your surgery. At that point, it is safe to start trying to conceive. Depending on the type of vasectomy reversal, the general timeframes for sperm to return to the ejaculate varies as follows:
- Vasovasostomy (vas to vas) takes 3 to 6 months.
- Vasoepididymostomy (vas to epididymis) takes up to 1 year.
Your specialist should arrange for sperm testing starting 2 to 3 months post-surgery.
Learn More About vasectomy reversals at Surgical Solutions Network
If you need vasectomy reversal surgery in Canada, Surgical Solutions Network provides rapid access to the surgery you need by expert registered surgeons at our advanced surgical facilities.
Surgical Solutions Network offers private healthcare access in Canada at our private clinics in Toronto, Winnipeg, Calgary, and Vancouver. As a leader of private healthcare in Canada, we provide access to a variety of surgical procedures without long wait times. When you partner with us for your private healthcare needs, you can get the surgery you need, when you need it.
We offer a range of procedures for your healthcare needs, including private vasectomy reversal surgery in Canada. Learn more about our licensed surgical centres across Canada and contact us today to arrange a consultation.
Content contributed by Dr. Premal Patel in association with Surgical Solutions Network.
Premal Patel, MD FRCSC
Male Infertility, Microsurgery & Sexual Medicine
University of Manitoba
Dr. Premal Patel is available to perform vasectomy reversal procedures at Surgical Solutions Network Surgical Centre Winnipeg.