The majority of men who have undergone vasectomy are good candidates for vasectomy reversal, all things equal. In most cases, the success of the procedure is more dependent upon the skill of the surgeon than the various factors that can influence a patient’s candidacy. Serving patients from Austin, Houston-based urologist Larry Lipshultz is a master of microsurgical techniques, having refined his skills through the performance of more than 2,000 vasectomy reversal surgeries during his two-decade career. The use of microsurgical techniques qualifies many men who, without such techniques, would not likely be good candidates for the procedure.
Nevertheless, not all men are suitable candidates for vasectomy reversal, nor is vasectomy reversal always the procedure most likely to result in successful pregnancy in every case. During initial consultations with Dr. Lipshultz, vasectomy reversal candidates are carefully screened and advised of their options so that they can make the most informed decisions regarding their fertility treatment plans.
Factors That May Influence Vasectomy Reversal Candidacy
There are several factors that may influence whether the vasectomy reversal is successful; however, these will not necessarily preclude a patient from undergoing the procedure. When vasectomy reversal is performed by a skilled microsurgeon such as Dr. Lipshultz, the effect of these factors is usually minimal, and the odds of success are extremely high.
Among the factors that can influence a patient’s candidacy are:
- The amount of time that has passed since the vasectomy: The passage of time alone does not influence a man’s candidacy; he may undergo the procedure at any age and at any time, even decades after the vasectomy. However, as time passes, the risk of epididymal blockage increases. The epididymis is the tube that connects the ducts inside the testis to the vas deferens, and its rupture will prevent sperm from being present in the vas deferens. In such cases, Dr. Lipshultz has to perform a complex procedure called an epididymovasostomy, in which the vas deferens is reconnected directly to the epididymis. The success rates of epididymovasostomy fall between 50 and 60 percent, as opposed to the 95 percent success rate associated with microsurgical vasovasostomy, the technique used when there is no epididymal blockage.
- The site of the vasectomy: The point at which the vas deferens is severed can influence the potential for successful vasectomy reversal. Generally, the farther away from the testicle that the disruption occurs, the higher the chance of a successful reversal.
- Testicular health: Patients with irreversible testicular failure, a rare condition in which the testicles are no longer able to develop sperm or testosterone, will not benefit from vasectomy reversal. Patients with other testicular disorders, such as varicoceles (a relatively common condition in which the tiny veins around the testicle become enlarged, resulting in varicose veins), may still be good candidates for vasectomy reversal, but will possibly require the future treatment of their disorders to achieve pregnancy.
- Previous unsuccessful vasectomy reversal: Patients who have previously but unsuccessfully undergone vasectomy reversal may be good candidates for a second procedure. However, the likelihood of success is slightly less than it is with the first surgery. (If you are currently considering vasectomy reversal for the first time, this underscores the importance of entrusting your procedure to an experienced microsurgeon such as Dr. Lipshultz).
If it turns out that vasectomy reversal is not the best option in your case, Dr. Lipshultz will discuss alternative treatments with you, including intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) with advanced sperm retrieval techniques.
Find Out Whether You Are a Candidate for Vasectomy Reversal
To learn whether you are a good candidate for vasectomy reversal, we invite you to schedule a consultation with Dr. Lipshultz today.