If you’ve had a vasectomy and are seeking a reversal, you’re not alone.

Up to 10% of men who have had vasectomies will seek a reversal at some point after the procedure.

You may wish to reverse the procedure because you’ve gotten a new partner, lost a child, or just simply changed your mind. Regardless of what your circumstances are, we’re here to help.

Here are three things you should know when it comes to a vasectomy reversal. 

  1. You Have Two Options

The options available to you will largely depend on certain factors such as how much time has passed since your vasectomy, whether or not you have viable sperm in your vans deferens, and other factors.

Your first option is a vasovasostomy. This procedure is the simpler of the two procedures and involves connecting the two ends of the vas deferens (which is the tube that helps transport your sperm to the urethra, where they will exit the body). This procedure is the most common, but it won’t always be available to patients, depending on their unique case.

The second procedure is more complex, called a vasoepididymostomy. This procedure varies slightly from the other one in that it involves connecting the vans deferens to the epididymis, which is a name for the tube that gets sperm into the vans deferens from the testicle.

Unfortunately, in some patients the buildup of the constant production of sperm over time has led to a sort of “leakage” outside the testicles, which can cause scarring and blockage that a simple vasovasostomy won’t solve. These tubes are extremely tiny (the smallest being less than half the size of the head of a needle) and this procedure should only be done by very experienced surgeons.

Discuss with your doctor which option will be available to you.

  1. It’s an Outpatient Procedure

A vasectomy reversal is an outpatient procedure that usually takes no more than a few hours with the patient under anesthesia. These surgeries are done using microscopic technology on account of the fact that the tubes are so small. Although you generally won’t need hospitalization, you should return to your urologist every two months to see when and if the sperm have begun to travel normally and exit the body again. For a vasovasostomy, it could take a mere three months for the sperm to return. For a vasoepididymostomy, it could take up to a year. It’s important to be patient after your vasectomy reversal to allow the sperm time to return in your ejaculate. 

  1. What the Recovery Involves

Most men are able to return to normal activities with a couple days of having a vasectomy reversal, although it’s important to remember that each man and his healing time will be different. You should incorporate ice packs for the swelling into your care routine and be sure to provide your scrotum with some support. Being gentle is very important, as your body is healing and the goal is to let the tubes heal from the surgery so your sperm can begin using them again. Aggressive movement too soon after surgery could cause the tubes to come undone again.

Your doctor will probably prescribe pain medication and caution you to avoid any physical activity besides walking for at least a month after your vasectomy reversal.

Getting a vasectomy reversal can be an exciting time for you, although the return of your fertility is something you shouldn’t trust to just any doctor. Find an experienced surgeon and talk with him or her about what your options are. Vasectomy reversals tend to have a high success rate, especially if done relatively soon after your vasectomy. Keep in mind these three things to know about a vasectomy reversal.