Vasectomy Reversal: What Men Should Know

Kathleen Blanchard's picture

Choosing to have a vasectomy reversed is a decision that men may face for a variety of reasons. Some men have post-vasectomy syndrome, causing chronic pain following vasectomy. The reasons are unknown, and vasectomy reversal may eliminate the problem.

Maybe you decide to start a family, for religious reasons. Practicing Catholics; newly indoctrinated, may be required to rethink vasectomy as a means of birth control. You might seek vasectomy reversal simply because of a change of thinking about starting a family down the road. Some men have vasectomy reversal because their partner is new - life circumstances change. Men should know about vasectomy reversal procedures to help decide whether to proceed.

Vasectomy is easier to perform than vasectomy reversal procedures and may not be covered by insurance. Costs begin at around $10,000. Approximately half of procedures are successful. Men whose vasectomy was performed less than fifteen years before opting for reversal have better chances of producing viable sperm, according to some physicians.

Others doctors have documented success forty years after vasectomy. It may take as long as two years for your partner to become pregnant. The average time it takes for pregnancy is twelve months.

How long does it take to perform a Vasectomy Reversal?
Vasectomy reversal takes approximately four hours to perform. In most instances, you will go home the same day. After the procedure, recovery time is necessary before leaving the hospital or outpatient surgery center. You will receive either general or spinal anesthesia, a preference that should be discussed during your pre-operative visit.


There is a risk of bleeding associated with any surgery. Your doctor will instruct you to discontinue any aspirin products, herbs or supplements that might promote bleeding before and for a time after the surgery. Check with your physician and pharmacist for any questions about medications or alternative medications that could cause bleeding.

Nerve damage is also possible during a vasectomy reversal procedure. Sperm can leak into the scrotum, causing a granuloma, which is a small mass. If a granuloma forms, your chances of reproducing a child decrease.

After vasectomy reversal
You will need to wear an athletic support. Rest and ice to the scrotum is expected to reduce any changes of swelling and bleeding after surgery. Follow-up visits to the doctor are important for sperm testing that can tell you whether vasectomy reversal succeeds. You will have a small incision on the underside of the scrotum. You should be back to normal within a week, able to resume work activities, without heavy lifting for four weeks. You should not engage in sex for two weeks after vasectomy reversal.

When vasectomy reversal fails
Many men choose to have their sperm frozen, ensuring during vasectomy reversal procedures. During the surgery, your doctor will identify healthy sperm using a microscope. Later, a procedure, known as intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) can be used to directly implant your sperm into the egg of your partner. Vasectomy reversal is considered a failure if no sperm is found after twelve months. You should choose a well-trained Urologist who has a record of success to perform your surgery.


Mayo Clinic