Vasectomy Reversal – What Should You Know About It?
The vasectomy procedure takes only 20 to 30 minutes to perform in males who are looking for a long-term contraceptive option. Unfortunately, the reversal of vasectomy is not that quick and in some cases, it may take a long time to reverse the effects of this procedure. Vasectomy reversal is fairly complex and involves microsurgical techniques. Although, surgeon’s experience and expertise plays a major role in determining the success of this procedure; the patient himself can also play a vital part in achieving desired results.
Here is what a male can do to maximize his chances of a successful vasectomy reversal:
Maintain An Excellent Physical Health
Healthier the body, higher will be the response to the surgical procedure. If a person is suffering from serious and chronic medical conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, coronary artery disease or other systemic diseases; the health issues must be controlled as much as possible before undergoing the procedure. It has been long believed that elevated levels of sugar in the blood can greatly influence the fertility of men regardless of the vasectomy. If blood sugar levels are chronically and uncontrollably high, it may badly affect the production of sperms and ejaculation will also be poor. Staying physically active is also very important because increased body weight leads to lower levels of testosterone and metabolic syndromes, which ultimately leads to poor functioning of testicles (1).
One thing to keep in mind is that your age matters too. Younger men have higher chances of achieving successful reversal. As men ages his sperm quality and quantity gets compromised. Usually reproductive decline occurs after the age of 45 however, it doesn’t mean that one should not get vasectomy reversal after a certain age.
Furthermore, mental health is as important as your physical health. Depression, anxiety or other mental conditions can interfere with the positive results.
Recreational Substance Use
Use of recreational substances have a negative influence on your reproductive health. Drinking alcohol occasionally is fine but chronic alcoholism can badly affect the production of sperms which can be long term or even forever. People who take narcotics for chronic pain can also face extremely low production of sperms. Similarly, smoking marijuana on regular basis can also damage the male fertility irreversibly.
Sufficient amount of oxygen is required for adequate tissue healing. Unfortunately, cigarette smoking promotes the accumulation of carbon dioxide and other toxins, which eventually suppresses the supply of oxygen due to which the tissues don’t get enough oxygen to heal. But, sudden withdrawal right before the surgery is also not a good idea because excessive coughing (part of withdrawal effects) can interfere with healing process. It is better to quit smoking several weeks before the surgery or reduce it to a lesser quantity if quitting just before the procedure (1).
Supplemental testosterones is often perceived by males as a magical therapy to elevate testosterone levels with minimal effort but it imperative to mention that although testosterone in supplemental forms boost the serum levels of testosterone, it also suppresses the production of pituitary hormones and suppression of these hormones can crush the production of sperms. Hence, vasectomy reversal usually fails in individuals who take supplemental testosterone.
Success rate also depends on how many years of vasectomy you are getting the reversal done? Sooner is better! Chances of successful reversal is very high, if done within 5 years. If reversal is performed within 3 years of vasectomy, the return of sperms in semen is 97%; likewise, the probability decreases to 88% if reversal performed within 3-8 and 71% if reversal performed after 15 years (1).
Before getting vasectomy reversal make sure that your partner is healthy enough to conceive a child. She must consult a gynecologist to confirm that there are not any fertility issues from her side. In addition, chemistry with partner also plays a major role in achieving successful conception. Study reported in the the Journal of Urology 4) suggested that chances of a successful vasectomy reversal are higher in males who have same female partner after the reversal as before undergoing vasectomy.
The most important thing is to take good care and optimal cautions after surgery. The tissues must heal properly and for that, a person is not supposed to be involved in sexual or any other exhausting physical activities, for couple of weeks. Even when sex is allowed, take it slow and easy for few months.
1. Belker, A. M., Thomas Jr, A. J., Fuchs, E. F., Konnak, J. W., & Sharlip, I. D. (1991). Results of 1,469 microsurgical vasectomy reversals by the Vasovasostomy Study Group. The Journal of urology, 145(3), 505-511.
2. Wespes, E. (2014). Vasectomy in male contraception and its reversal. European Urology Supplements, 13(4), 68-72.
3. Herrel, L. A., Goodman, M., Goldstein, M., & Hsiao, W. (2015). Outcomes of microsurgical vasovasostomy for vasectomy reversal: a meta-analysis and systematic review. Urology, 85(4), 819-825.
4. Ostrowski, K. A., Polackwich, A. S., Kent, J., Conlin, M. J., Hedges, J. C., & Fuchs, E. F. (2015). Higher outcomes of vasectomy reversal in men with the same female partner as before vasectomy. The Journal of urology, 193(1), 245-247.