Although a vasectomy reversal is a relatively straightforward procedure, it does carry a slightly higher risk than vasectomy and its efficacy is not guaranteed. The vasectomy is a permanent type of birth control that is a very common type of surgery. Although the procedure is extremely effective in the prevention of pregnancy, people can always change their minds. If you previously had a vasectomy, but would like to regain the ability to father a child, options are available. Of course before undergoing any type of surgery, there are a number of factors to consider. 1. Differences Between a Vasectomy and a Reversal A vasectomy is considered to be minor surgery, but a vasectomy reversal is a type of major surgery. A few key differences between the two procedures are: Vasectomies only take about 20 minutes to complete, but reversals can range anywhere from two to four hours. The vasectomy is a relatively inexpensive type of surgery typically covered by insurance. Reversals cost several times more and are not normally covered by insurance. Although both procedures involve risks, there are more potential side effects from a reversal, such as potential injuries to nerves and arteries, and scrotum fluid buildup. Recovering from a vasectomy takes about two days; recovering from a reversal takes about a week. 2. Alternatives The fertility success rate of a vasectomy reversal ranges anywhere from 40 to 90 percent. The shorter the time period between a vasectomy and a vasectomy reversal, the greater the odds of success. One possible alternative to a vasectomy reversal is known as a sperm aspiration. Before in vitro fertilisation, sperm taken from the testicle is used for the fertilisation of the female’s eggs. Any extra sperm may be frozen for later use. 3. Redo Another consideration is if the patient has previously had a failed vasectomy reversal. If the original procedure led to excessive damage or scars, a redo may not help. If the initial reversal led to the vas deferens being overly short, the severed tubes may not be able to be reconnected. 4. Surgical Success or Patency Rate You should also consider your surgeon’s success, or patency rate. Factors that go into this involve the time between the reversal and vasectomy, the form of fluid contained within the vas, sperm presence within the fluid, and general male fertility status. 5. Recovery What you should expect during recovery is always an essential consideration following any type of surgery. Following your vasectomy reversal, it is normal to experience some groin pain for up to three weeks. Your groin and scrotum may be swollen and bruised, which should resolve itself in a week or two. In one week, you can probably work and engage in normal activities. Of course, this depends upon the nature of your job. Jobs involving heavy manual labor could take two weeks or longer. Incision care is something to consider when recovering at home. It is normal to experience some fluid drainage from the incision for about 12 hours after your procedure. You should gently wash the area with warm water and soap, patting it dry. The Bottom Line Due to the risk and relatively low success rate, vasectomy reversal is not a procedure that Dr Read recommends. If you would like further information about vasectomy or vasectomy reversal, feel free to call the Gold Coast Vasectomy Centre on (07) 5531 3205 or visit our website to book an appointment online using the form on this page. Don’t forget to share this via Twitter and LinkedIn.