Vasectomy Reversal Success Depends on Three Big Things…Read On!

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The three things…The surgeon, the quality of fluid at the time of the procedure, and the years since the vasectomy…and a little luck.

Time to Sperm Appearance Can Be Predicted After Vasectomy Reversal

Urology – November 30, 2007 – Vol. 23 – No. 08

After vasectomy reversal, motile sperm observed intraoperatively at the testicular vas, undergoing vasovasostomy, and an obstructive interval of <=8 years predict shorter time to appearance of sperm in the ejaculate.

Article Reviewed: The Kinetics of the Return of Motile Sperm to the Ejaculate After Vasectomy Reversal. Yang G, Walsh TJ, et al: J Urol; 2007; 177 (June): 2272-2276.

The Kinetics of the Return of Motile Sperm to the Ejaculate After Vasectomy Reversal.

Yang G, Walsh TJ, et al:
J Urol; 2007; 177 (June): 2272-2276

Objective: To study the time to appearance of sperm in the ejaculate for men undergoing vasectomy reversal. Design: Retrospective chart review of men who had undergone bilateral vasovasostomy, bilateral epididymovasostomy, or a combination of vasovasostomy on 1 side and epididymovasostomy on the other. Participants/Methods: 150 men whose records included intraoperative findings with type of reversal performed, record of sperm presence or absence, and associated fluid findings from each testicular vas deferens. Results: Presence of motile sperm in vasa was associated with a shorter time to postoperative presence of sperm observed in the ejaculate: 95% of men with motile sperm in the intraoperative vasal specimen were observed to have sperm in the ejaculate by 6 months after vasectomy reversal compared to 76% of men without motile sperm in the intraoperative specimen (P =0.04). Features correlated with a shorter onset to the observation of sperm in the ejaculate within the first 3 months after vasectomy reversal included an obstructive interval of <=8 years and vasovasostomy rather than epididymovasostomy. Patient age did not affect time to the observation of sperm in the ejaculate after vasectomy reversal.

Conclusions: Motile sperm observed intraoperatively at the testicular vas, undergoing vasovasostomy, and an obstructive interval of <=8 years predict shorter time to the appearance of sperm in the ejaculate after vasectomy reversal.

Reviewer’s Comments: The similarity with previous studies by other investigators of time to sperm seen in the ejaculate, with an average of 3.2 months for vasovasostomy and 6.3 months for epididymovasostomy, provides excellent counseling information for couples considering vasectomy reversal. (Reviewer–Craig S. Niederberger, MD).

 

Can you achieve pregnancy after reversing only one testicle?

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The above logo is a microbrewery  company in our city and I thought the name lends itself to introduce this blog’s message. I should have been asked to be an investor!

Actually this question comes up often to the urologist. Patients lose a testicle for several reasons to include: chronic epididymitis, orchitis, undescended testicle, testicular cancer, trauma, and chronic pain. In the majority of cases having only one testicle does not affect fertility or male hormone production.

The reason we mention this here is that it does become an issue for the couple desiring a reversal in the male with one testicle. Can you reverse the vasectomy on one testicle and have success? Yes. Do you have a better chance of success after a reversal if you have two testicles? Yes.

Although the one testicle can produce the quality and quantity of sperm for pregnancy after a reversal, having two testicles results in a higher likelihood of success because there are two chances that the anastomosis (the repair of the vas deferens) remain open, two chances of having good fluid in the proximal (testicle side of the vas), and the benefit of two testicles contributing to the semen quality.

It is not unusual at the time of a reversal to have very good quality fluid on one side because of a sperm granuloma on that side, and on the other side the fluid is of poor quality i.e. cloudy with sperm parts and no whole sperm.

So…if we had our druthers, we’d want to begin with two testicles to work with, however it is reasonable to have a reversal if the patient only has one testicle. Of note we often times give a price discount because we only have to one side.