Q. Can any urologist perform a vasectomy reversal?
A: Unlike special fellowship-trained microsurgeons such as Dr. David Fenig, who focus on male reproductive and sexual health, most general urologists perform less than a handful of vasectomy reversal procedures a year. For the most successful outcomes, it’s important that you have your vasectomy reversal performed by a surgeon with extensive training and a great deal of experience in microsurgery.
What differentiates Dr. Fenig from other surgeons is his fellowship training in male infertility and microsurgery from the most prestigious program for male reproductive medicine and surgery in the United States. Dr. Fenig is part of an elite group of the top vasectomy reversal specialists in the United States. Only two percent of board-certified urologists in the U.S. have this fellowship training. In addition, Dr. Fenig has a very high success rate for microsurgical vasectomy reversal – more than 90 percent success.
When choosing a vasectomy reversal surgeon, Dr. Fenig always recommends that patients ask questions about the surgeon’s training, how many vasectomy reversals they perform a year, their expertise and success rate. He also encourages couples to speak with other patients that have already undergone the procedure.
Q. Is it possible to reverse a vasectomy after 10 years?
A: Yes, it is possible to have a successful vasectomy reversal 10 years or more after a vasectomy. The most important factor in a vasectomy reversal is the skill of the surgeon. In fact, Dr. Fenig has successfully reversed vasectomies in patients up to 30 years after a vasectomy, with remarkable results.
Q: Dr. Fenig performs the vasectomy reversal microsurgically- is this the best way to perform the procedure?
A: Yes. The channel of the vas deferens through which the sperm swim is only .3 to .4 millimeters in diameter. Therefore, the most effective way to reconnect the vas deferens is by having a skilled surgeon like Dr. David Fenig perform microsurgery with the assistance of a state-of-the art operating microscope that provides 16 times magnification of the operating image. Dr. Fenig uses microscopic sutures, which are so small they cannot be seen by the naked eye.
Q: Do men stop making sperm after a vasectomy?
A: No, men do not stop producing sperm after a vasectomy. The body continues to make sperm, but because the vas deferens have been cut and disconnected, the sperm do not reach the ejaculate. The sperm are naturally absorbed by the body after a period of time. Because men continue to make sperm after a vasectomy, Dr. Fenig has had much success reversing the vasectomy procedure so that couples can go on to conceive a baby naturally.
Q. How soon after my vasectomy reversal will I have sperm in my semen?
A: After a reversal, sperm may return immediately or after a few months, depending on the type of the procedure and intra-operative findings. If there are high numbers of very motile (swimming) sperm at time of the vasectomy reversal, or vasovasostomy, it is common for sperm to be present at the initial semen analysis one or two months post-operatively. Men who have the more delicate microsurgery called epididymovasostomy, needed in many patient cases when a blockage is discovered in the epididymis during the procedure, may take more time before sperm is present in the semen.
Q. What about risks or complications?
A: While there are risks and potential complications with any surgical procedure, microsurgical vasectomy reversal techniques do not pose high risks for serious complications.
Q. What will my vasectomy reversal recovery be like?
A: The vasectomy reversal procedure is done in an outpatient setting and typically takes three hours, including anesthesia time. Recovery takes approximately five to seven days. Some patients compare post-op recovery similar to recovery after their vasectomy, but of slightly longer duration. The discomfort after a vasectomy reversal can easily be controlled with pain medication initially, followed by extra strength Tylenol or anti-inflammatories such as ibuprofen. During your recovery you should promote your healing process by icing the surgical area, avoiding any strenuous physical or sudden movements and getting proper rest.