There are two areas that have to heal after a vasectomy reversal procedure.
- The subcutaneous tissues and the skin which have been incised to reach the vas tubes has to heal.
- What the patient sees is the skin sutures. These sutures dissolve and go away in about two weeks.
- Although the skin will appear healed on the surface, microscopically full healing occurs at approximately six weeks.
- The scrotum is not like an abdominal incision where excessive straining prior to complete healing could cause extrusion bowel or create a hernia.
- The skin of scrotum healing is independent of straining but excessive activity and motion could delay the healing process.
- Sometimes the sutures dissolve prior to complete healing of the skin. Some areas of the suture line may open minimally and this is of no concern and will close over (epithelialize) within a week.
- In regards to the skin healing process, a patient can shower in a few days with care for water not to hit the site directly, and one should place Neosporin ointment on the site daily.
The Reversal Site
- The repair is done with 12-14 permanent sutures in a tension-free and water-tight fashion.
- Compression shorts are recommended for approximately three weeks.
- This allows for the inner and out layers of the repair to heal without the undue stress of the testicles and hence the vas deferens moving up and down and potentially delaying the healing process.
So although the two primary areas that need to heal before strenuous physical activity or sexual activity are different in character, the magic number of time is around three weeks-four weeks.
Anecdotally, I have had a patient present to my office the day after a reversal stating that he was having bleeding at the incision site. He confessed that he had had sex the night of the procedure. I reassured him the bleeding was from the skin edge and nothing to be concerned about.
This couple had a baby almost 9 months later to the day. Go figure!