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What Women Want to Know About Vasectomy Reversals

I see a lot
of couples for vasectomy
 procedures. As they gather information before
proceeding, typically the partner, not the patient, fires off most of the
questions. These queries come in two forms: questions directed at me and those
having to do with the procedure.

The Dirty Dozen

Thank goodness
that I’m a data-driven-doctor, because my patients are similarly inclined. Here
are a dozen of the most common questions women ask me about their partners’
reversal procedure:

long does it take?
It depends on
whether a straight connection (vasovasostomy)
or bypass procedure (epididymovasostomy) is needed. Typically, 2
to 3.5 hours
 of surgery on a come-and-go basis.

risky is it?
I believe that
paying attention to risk is essential to keeping a healthy man healthy.
Performed under intravenous and local anesthesia, complications from anesthesia
(heart or lung issues) or the procedure itself (bleeding, infection, chronic
pain) occur in <1% of cases.

painful is it?
Men take an
average 3-4 pain pills (total) after surgery, typically over
the first 48 hours. Back to work at a desk job as soon as the
pills stop. And, we’re studying a traditional Chinese herbal supplement to
replace opiate pain pills after surgery.

can we reach you after surgery?
Uniquely, I keep
in touch with patients using GetWellLoop, which connects us daily for 3 weeks
after the procedure.

technique do you use?
I’m a big fan of
studying the masters who preceded me and taking their techniques to the next
level. I apply whatever technique works best for each patient. Some keywords
are: microscopic, modified 1-layer, formal 2-layer, invagination.

much experience do you have performing these procedures?
It’s my favorite
thing to do, and I publish my
 in peer-reviewed literature. Can’t get much more
“authentic” and “valid” than that!

many vasectomy reversals do you do?
One to three
cases weekly. As a measure of procedural complexity, the average age of
vasectomies that I reverse is 15 years, and 17% of
my cases have already failed vasectomy reversals with other surgeons. Call me
“clean up.”

can we have sex again?
I like to keep
things moving to keep them open. Two weeks until sex with
straight connections and 3 weeks after a bypass procedure.

the chance he’ll have a sperm count?
Short answer: it
depends, but it’s high. For vasectomies that were performed fewer than 15 years
ago, return of motile sperm occurs in 90-100% of cases. For
vasectomies that were performed greater than 16 years ago, 75-90% of

the chance I’ll get pregnant?

Hard to accurately judge surgeon success using this metric because there’s
another party involved here (the partner). However, 55-65% in
the average case.

quickly will I get pregnant?
Great question.
This depends as much on the female partner’s fertility potential as it does on
the quality of the vasectomy reversal. With vasectomies performed <15 years
ago, typically <1 year, but with reversals performed >16
years ago, typically 1-2 years.

Can he
get another vasectomy afterwards?
Tapping into the
idea that men really love their vasectomies, I now offer a “One & Done” package
that includes both a reversal and a subsequent vasectomy. Short answer:
absolutely possible.

There are
also less common but equally interesting questions I get asked. Two of them
come to mind: “Do you cut yourself shaving?” (never!) and “How much sleep do
you get before surgery?” (I love sleep). Both questions stem from real concern
about the well-being of the partner having surgery. As Winnie the Pooh
once said: “Some people care too much; I think it’s called love.”

This article first appeared on Dr.
Turek’s blog

by _M_V_
 on Unsplash

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