Considerations and queries about vasectomy reversal
On this page I will address some of the common questions, considerations and issues that arise in relation to reversing vasectomy. Some questions are so frequent that I have expanded them to a page of their own elsewhere on this web site. Others are referred to on other pages but with a different perspective. Much of the remaining information on this page is my personal experience.
When considering if you will undergo vasectomy reversal there are many questions that you may wish to know the answers to. The most common of these are about whether your vasectomy reversal will be successful, what it will cost and how long it will take to recover. Below are brief answers to these questions. More detailed explanations are contained in dedicated pages with this web site.
You may read on some web sites about pre-operative tests prior to vasectomy reversal. There is however, no evidence of benefit. The American Society of Reproductive Medicine's most recent guidelines state that such tests are not necessary; Indeed, they may mislead you into believing that you have a higher or lower chance than you actually do.
Fasting prior to surgery
Unless advised by my anaesthetist otherwise, you should have nothing to eat or drink from the evening before your surgery for vasectomy reversal. If you are scheduled to undergo you operation in the afternoon it is likely the anaesthetist will suggest a light breakfast. If there is any doubt please contact the hospital to which you are being admitted prior to eating or drinking in the 8 hours before your surgery.
How soon after surgery should you resume sex
I recommend waiting 4 weeks before recommencing sexual intercourse. The reason for this length of time is that the stitches used to reconnect the vas deferens have a diameter which are much less than that of a human hair. In addition there is good evidence from animal studies that there is a weakening of the strength of sites of surgical repair around 10 to 14 days post operatively. This makes the site of the joining the ends of the vasectomy reversal particularly vulnerable to disruption, leading to an adverse impact on the chances of a successful operation. In providing this advice about timing I have taken this time frame as 3 weeks and then added an additional 1 week 'for insurance'.
Trying to achieve pregnancy
You may attempt to achieve pregnancy one month after your vasectomy reversal. Some surgeons suggest that waiting four or five months because they fear that there might be an increase risk of abnormalities in babies following vasectomy reversal. Published scientific and medical studies are reassuring in that there are no studies that demonstrate a statistically significant increased risk.
Medical certificate for your employer
On the day of surgery you will be given a certificate for 1 week off work. Please contact my rooms if you need more time or a request for light activities (up to 3 weeks for physical jobs).
Do I need a referral from my local doctor?
For Australian citizens a referral from your general practitioner is necessary in order to obtain a Medicare rebate or health insurance rebate.
How long will I stay in hospital?
It depends on whether you have your surgery in the morning or afternoon and on where you live. If you live close to the hospital in which your operation is performed then you may, if you choose go home the same day. On the other hand should your operation be in the afternoon or you live at a distance then an over night stay may be more convenient.
Can complications occur from vasectomy reversal surgery?
Complications occur with all surgical operations. For vasectomy reversal they occur in less than 1% of men. I have never personally seen a complication which has led to any long term difficulty. Having said this, there have been very rare and very serious infections which have been reported in the medical literature. For this reason I always use preventative antibiotic treatment and coat key stitches with a potent antibiotic gel.
In addition to infection, haematoma (a collection of blood in the scrotum), unusual scar tissue causing post operative pain and short term urinary retention can occur.
Are there any Medicare rebates for vasectomy reversal?
Yes. The Federal Government has recently reinstated Medicare rebates for vasectomy reversal. The Medicare rebate will however be less than the cost of your surgery.
Are there any health rebates for vasectomy reversal?
Yes, but this will depend entirely on the exact details of your health insurance policy. Generally the major benefit of being in a health fund is the rebate provided for the cost of the fees charged by the hospital. We advise that you check with your health fund in advance of your vasectomy reversal.
How much does vasectomy reversal cost?
This depends on where you have your vasectomy reversal performed, whether you have health insurance and what level of health insurance. Depending on these variables the cost of vasectomy reversal can vary.
For those with health insurance the out of pocket expense for vasectomy reversal is as low as $3000 depending on your excess. If you do not hold health insurance but have medicare the out of pocket expense is approximately $6500. A booking payment is due 4 weeks prior to your surgery.
How do I pay?
Payment for surgery is required prior to admission to hospital and can be by electronic funds transfer, bank cheque or credit Card.
How successful is vasectomy reversal?
The results of vasectomy reversal procedures are impressive with the restoration of fertility in the overwhelming majority of men when the duration of time from vasectomy to reversal is less than 10 years and successful pregnancy in most couples when the female partners age is less than 35 years. The results decrease slowly with time from vasectomy and fairly quickly when female age is greater than 40 years.