In a previous blog installment, we discussed epididymovasostomy, the more complex of the two microsurgical techniques used to perform vasectomy reversal. In this entry, we will discuss the more common of the two techniques: the microsurgical vasovasostomy. Urologist Larry Lipshultz uses this technique when there are sperm present in the vas deferens at the time of the vasectomy reversal surgery. At Dr. Lipshultz’s clinic serving the Dallas area and located conveniently in Houston, vasovasostomy is successful in restoring fertility in males approximately 95 percent of the time.
What Is Vasovasostomy?
During a vasectomy, the vas deferens is severed; during vasovasostomy, these two severed ends are surgically reconnected with the aid of a powerful microscope and sutures even thinner than the typical human hair. When performed on qualified candidates by an extensively trained and experienced microsurgeon such as Dr. Lipshultz, vasovasostomy is a safe and hugely successful procedure.
Although the premise of vasovasostomy is simple enough, the procedure requires an extraordinarily steady hand and skillful use of microsurgical tools. In all, the procedure usually takes between two and four hours and will require the patient to rest for the remainder of the day after the surgery. Full recovery from vasovasostomy takes approximately a month, during which the patient must refrain from sexual activity.
The success of the vasovasostomy procedure may be influenced by the amount of time that has passed between the patient’s vasectomy and his vasectomy reversal; however, the skill of the microsurgeon has as much of an influence, if not more so. Surgeons who do not perform vasovasostomy routinely may not properly check the contents of the vas deferens for the presence or absence of sperm. When sperm are not present, vasovasostomy will not be the appropriate technique for vasectomy reversal, and the patient should be checked for a blockage upstream of the vasectomy site. If a blockage is discovered, the more complex epididymovasostomy technique must be used.
Vasovasostomy can, but should not be, performed by a surgeon without microsurgical techniques. The chances of success are significantly lower in such cases. While the patient may end up spending a bit more when he entrusts his vasectomy reversal to an experienced microsurgeon using state-of-the-art tools in an accredited facility, he stands a dramatically better chance of achieving a successful result.
The recovery period after vasovasostomy is fairly brief, but can be accompanied by swelling, which can initially be somewhat painful. Ice packs may be used as directed to reduce swelling while medication will be prescribed to relieve pain. Patients should expect to limit their activity for about a week after surgery, although most are able to return to work the day after surgery. The microscopic sutures will dissolve on their own. It is imperative that you attend all scheduled follow-up appointments with Dr. Lipshultz.
Learn More about Vasovasostomy
To learn more about vasovasostomy, or to schedule your consultation with Dr. Larry Lipshultz, please contact our urology practice today. We would be pleased to answer any questions you might have and assist you in scheduling your appointment.