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What Women Want to Know About Vasectomy Reversals

I see a lot
of couples for vasectomy
reversal
 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:

How
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.

How
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.

How
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.

How
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.

What
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.

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

How
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.”

When
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.

What’s
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
cases.

What’s
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.

How
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
.

Photo
by _M_V_
 on Unsplash



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