Plymouth Urology Partnership
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Vasectomy Reversal

During vasectomy the vas (the tube that caries sperm from the testis) is divided on each side. There are various techniques for doing this. Vasectomy reversal aims to re-establish the vas so that sperm will again appear in the ejaculate.
Vasectomy reversal is performed under general anaesthetic. It takes about 2 hours. Essentially the ends of the vas have to be found, fresh ends made and a join between them using magnification. This is very fine and delicate surgery. Patients may be able to go home on the day of surgery but may also have to stay overnight in hospital
Patients are advised to avoid physical exertion for several weeks following the operation. Patients should also refrain from ejaculation for 4-6 weeks after surgery.

What are the chances of it working?

Unfortunately, after a vasectomy, there can be a decrease in the amount of sperm being produced by the testes. Other factors can also reduce the ability of any sperm produced to fertilize an egg.

Therefore, even if the operation is successful at re-establishing the vas, there may still be reduced sperm numbers or impairment of function which make conception unlikely.

In terms of success rates following the procedure, the critical factor is the time between the vasectomy and vasectomy reversal operation:

Less than 5 years gives a 70% chance of getting sperm in the ejaculate but only 50% chance of a live birth.

Greater than 5 years gives a 50% chance of getting sperm in the ejaculate, 30% chance of live birth.

The female partner’s age has some bearing on the likelihood of success. It may be that you and your partner may be better served by other fertility techniques (such as IVF or ICSI).

All operations have pros, cons and side effects. These can be explained to you by the surgeon at an initial consultation. After this, you and your partner can take time to decide whether you wish to proceed with a vasectomy reversal operation.