A vasectomy reversal is a process in which the tubes that were cut during a vasectomy (a method of contraception in which the male has his vas deferens tubes cut to prevent the passage of sperms from the testicles into the penis) are re- connected. This process is also referred to as Vasovasostomy. In the past, this contraceptive measure was considered permanent but recent advancement in microsurgery has attempted to reverse the condition. Most men who consider this option are those who wish to have children, but have had the operation in the past. Occasionally however, it is done as a post- vasectomy pain relief method where all other possible measures have failed.
During vasectomy reversals, a spinal or general anaesthesia may be used to control pain and keep the patient still. This procedure is highly sensitive and requires attendance by the experts in the field. A simple mistake could hinder any success of fertility after the operation. Handled carefully, the patient does not need to have an overnight stay at the hospital but can leave in an hour of finishing the vasectomy reversal procedure. The procedure in itself takes about 2- 4 hours.
Depending on how long the patient has had his tubes cut, the success rate of vasectomy reversals may vary with those who have had it for a shorter time recording higher success rates than their counterparts. Overall, a span of 10 years is acceptable. Having had the tubes cut for long may hinder fertility even after V. R because some blockages may develop overtime. This may include vasoepididymostomy, which is a blockage between the epididymis and the vas deferens. Another factor that may reduce the resumption of fertility may be the fact that in some men, the body starts forming anti- bodies to their own sperm after soon after the surgery.
Prior to a vasectomy reversal, the practising surgeon will give the patient some guidelines regarding the procedure. For starters, a patient should have a fast of about 6 hours before the surgery. The patient should also avoid caffeine to prevent the stimulant from limiting the efficiency of the anaesthesia during the process. Even before it comes to the surgery, the practitioner must advise the patient on possible alternatives to a vasectomy reversal which may include intra-cytoplasmic sperm injection, which involves the collection of sperm directly from the testes, and they are then injected into the partner’s egg. In this case, IVF is mandatory. The surgeon should also prepare the patient about how the procedure is done and what to expect after the procedure.
After the procedure, the patient may rest for a while to allow the anaesthesia to wear off. He should recover fully within 3 weeks whereupon he can resume normal activities including sex. Care should be taken to support the scrotum at all times during the recovery period to ease discomfort and pain. Pain relief medication may be administered although natural pain relief methods also work. A good example is the use of ice packs on the scrotum. The patient should avoid lifting heavy objects until he is completely healed.