You’ve probably noticed many advertisements, even billboards, showing the ease with which vasectomies can be performed. This is true. A vasectomy is a relatively straightforward procedure requiring little downtime and minimal pain. If you would like to learn more about a vasectomy, we suggest you read our article.
A vasectomy reversal, however, is more involved and requires additional considerations. However, it is possible, and many men benefit from restored sperm flow. Did you know that despite a vasectomy, men produce sperm from the testicles? Restoring this flow, therefore, requires a specialized urologic surgeon.
Why Do Men Want a Vasectomy Reversal?
Vasectomy reversal candidates most often come to us with changes in their lives. By some estimates, these patients account for about 10% of all men who have undergone a prior vasectomy. Some, after thinking they were done having children, want more. Others may have remarried and are looking for a biological child with a new partner. The reasons are many and varied; however, patients who believe their ability to have children after a vasectomy is compromised or even ruined by having a vasectomy are usually happy to hear that, in most cases, that is not true.
What Does a Vasectomy Reversal Entail?
Vasectomies can be reversed using one of several techniques, but two approaches tend to yield the best results: the standard microsurgical technique and the robotically assisted minimally invasive reversal.
Both procedures involve the same basic concept – taking the divided ends of the vas deferens and microscopically reattaching them with tiny sutures. The procedure takes two to four hours in both cases and offers excellent results.
However, Dr. Engel has explored the use of robotic assistance in reducing operative time and even improving results. The traditional vasectomy reversal is a demanding procedure that requires a great deal of effort and microsurgical expertise on the surgeon’s part. Fatigue in working with such small sutures is common under the microscope. However, robotic assistance allows for increased visualization, precision, and surgeon comfort for surgeons who have mastered these tools. The robot is designed to work with such small sutures, removes any hand tremors, and allows for easy ergonomics when performing this suturing. All of these are important factors in the procedure’s success and operative time. Ultimately, whether a microsurgical or robotic approach is used, both are certainly excellent ways to do this, and the approach used is typically a function of a surgeon’s experience.
And lastly, one thing that we know is always a consideration here is the expense a vasectomy reversal will bring. We will first, of course, see if there is insurance coverage with your carrier for you, but if not, we have chosen Reston Hospital to be the most economical site that has given a special rate to use their operating room and robot. In doing this, and in Dr. Engel keeping his fee to a minimum, we seek to help as many patients as possible for a cost certainly below the national average.
How Successful Is a Vasectomy Reversal?
The vasectomy reversal is very successful in qualifying patients. Typically, a patient who had their vasectomy less than ten years ago will see a success rate well into the 90s. However, other factors can determine whether a man’s fertility is best restored by a vasectomy reversal. This includes the quality of their sperm, whether there were complications with the original vasectomy that might make reversal more difficult, if the vasectomy was performed well over ten years ago, their general health, and the age of their partner. As such, Dr. Engel may suggest the patient visit a fertility center with their partner to also hear about in vitro fertilization if the success of a vasectomy reversal is projected to be low.
Once you have researched vasectomy reversal and feel comfortable with the benefits and risks of the procedure, your next step is to visit Dr. Engel for a consultation. During this consultation, we will discuss the pros and cons of having a vasectomy reversal, explore reversal techniques, and detail what to expect during recovery and longer-term after surgery. Dr. Engel will take the time to learn your particular situation and lead you to the solution that makes the most sense for you and your partner in the most efficacious and cost-effective manner possible.