Category Archives: Microscopic Vasectomy Reversal

Predictive factors in sperm appearance after vasectomy reversal.

img_0332

Patient’s often ask, “What is your success rate?” The successful reversal is heavily influenced by the quality of the fluid at the testicular end at the time of the reversal and the time interval since the vasectomy. JM

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).

 

Reversal: Does it matter which type of vasectomy was done?

img_0427

In the big scheme of things nope! However the picture shown above the vasectomy was done with clips. For the reversal surgeon this type of vasectomy is the easiest to find and usually is associated with a smaller segment to remove.

When the vasectomy has been done with fulguration alone (burning the inside of the severed vas) it be hard to find the actual site of the vasectomy. The defect is sometimes so small that the entire vas tube appears as if nothing has been done.

If a sperm granuloma has formed this is very easy to find and is a positive thing as the fluid is much better in this case.

Finally, a vasectomy should only be done if the couple is wanting “permanent” birth control. So a urologist doing a vasectomy in a way to make a reversal easier in my opinion is not the right attitude for either the patient or the doctor.

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

IMG_3116

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).

 

ICSI vs. Vasectomy Reversal in men with prolonged interval since vasectomy?

Even after prolonged obstructive intervals of 15 to 20 years, vasectomy reversal offers better or comparable success rates to intracytoplasmic sperm injection.

Article Reviewed: Outcomes for Vasectomy Reversal Performed After Obstructive Intervals of at Least 10 Years. Kolettis PN, Sabanegh ES, et al: Urology 2002; 60 (November): 885-888.

Outcomes for Vasectomy Reversal Performed After Obstructive Intervals of at Least 10 Years.

Kolettis PN, Sabanegh ES, et al:
Urology 2002; 60 (November): 885-888Objective: To determine the outcomes for vasectomy reversal performed after at least 10 years of obstruction. Methods: 74 vasectomy reversal procedures were performed in 70 patients after obstructive intervals of 10 to 24 years (mean, 14.5 years). These patients were retrospectively reviewed for patency and pregnancy rates. Results: The overall pregnancy rate was 37%. Patency rates for an obstructive interval of 10 to 15 years, 16 to 19 years, and >=20 years were 74%, 87%, and 75%, respectively. Pregnancy rates for these same periods were 40%, 36%, and 27%, respectively. Assuming a live delivery rate per cycle of 25% for intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI), the delivery rate for vasectomy reversal would not be exceeded until an obstructive interval of at least 20 years.

Conclusions: The authors believe that even after prolonged obstructed intervals, vasectomy reversal offers better or comparable success rates to ICSI. Depending on their success rates at various medical centers, a threshold obstructive interval probably exists at which ICSI surpasses vasectomy reversal.

Reviewer’s Comments: This is, in my opinion, a clinically worthwhile paper. It clearly shows the pregnancy and delivery rates in patients who have undergone vasectomy reversal surpass the historical success rates of ICSI even after prolonged obstructive intervals. In addition, vasectomy reversal avoids the complication associated with multiple births, which is commonly seen after ICSI and is cheaper. In summary, even in patients with prolonged obstructive intervals after vasectomy, vasectomy reversal is probably more effective, cheaper, and less complicated than is ICSI. (Reviewer-George S. Benson, MD).

Additional Keywords: 10 infertility interval reversal vasectomy

Reprints: Division of Urology; University of Alabama at Birmingham; 1530 3rd Ave S, MEB 606; Birmingham, AL 35294-3296 (Peter N. Kolettis, MD).

 

Listen to Vasectomy Reversal 101 Podcast While You Walk!

animated-stick-figure-image-0011-1

The Nitty Gritty…

  • The cost is all-inclusive-$6,500.
  • The pre reversal consultation is free.
  • Performed in a practice owned and accredited surgery center.
  • General anesthesia performed by board certified anesthesiologist.
  • 200 reversals have been performed.
  • Overnight accommodations is free.
  • Usually takes two and half hours or less to perform.
  • Out patient.
  • Operating microscope and microscopic sutures and instruments utilized.
  • Success rates mirror national studies. (See success rates page.)

Vasectomy 101 Podcast by Dr. McHugh

Schedule consultation 24/7 by leaving your number and we’ll call you with appointment.

What does the vasectomy site look like at the time of a reversal?

img_4584

There are several things about the picture above. First of all, the vas deferens has been isolated and is ready to begin the vasectomy reversal procedure proper. There are basically three parts to a vasectomy reversal.

  1. First you have to dissect out the  vas deferens and identify the vasectomy site. In the case above this was easy. You see in the middle of the picture a conglomeration of clips which were used to do the vasectomy. I like it when clips have been used. The area is much easier to find and there is less damage to the vas deferens.
  2. Secondly, the vasectomy site is excised and fresh vascularized vas deferens are delineated and prepared to reconnect.
  3. Finally the actual reversal. The microscope is brought into the operative field and after having approximated the two ends…the reversal is performed under the microscope using microscopic suture, usually 12-14 on each side.

Another interesting finding in the above picture is the sperm granuloma. On the right side of the clips you see a bulge before the vas narrows. This finding is a positive sign of success and that the fluid will be favorable. In this case the vasectomy had been done 5 years previously and the fluid noted upon transection showed a mildly cloudy fluid which with microscopic evaluation showed whole sperm.

So even before the reversal procedure with the microscope even started there where several positive findings the will contribute to a reversal success and pregnancy.

Considering a vasectomy reversal? We do them all the time and the consultation is free. Make an appointment 24/7 by just leaving your number and we’ll contact you. 

Save

What is the effect of a vasectomy on the male? All you’d ever want to know.

135449-004-F2AB0A3F

From: Spermatogenesis. 2012 Oct 1; 2(4): 273–278.

Effects of Vasectomy and Vasectomy Reversal in Humans

Vasectomy is performed by transection of the vas deferens with suture, clips, cautery or a combination of these in the scrotal portion of the vas. This transection disrupts the mucosal, muscular, and adventitial components of the vas deferens, including the autonomic nerves that mediate vasal secretory function and peristalsis. Vasal obstruction results in increased intraluminal pressures within the testicular remnant of the vas deferens. The increased pressure may have physiologic effects on epithelial cell morphology, cellular ultrastructure, and gene expression in the vas deferens and epididymis. Moreover, sperm cannot traverse the intentionally obstructed vasal lumen, and as such they accumulate and die within the testicular remnant of the vas deferens and the epididymis. A resultant local inflammatory response occurs in reaction to dying sperm, which has significant downstream sequelae, including a systemic cellular and humoral immunologic response that may impair testicular and sperm function.The clinical importance of this response is not clear in humans. Vasal transection and occlusion cause significant, independent pathophysiologic sequelae that may or may not be reversible by microsurgical bypass of vasal and/or epididymal obstruction during vasectomy reversal in humans.

Perhaps the most relevant study on the effects of vasal transection during vasectomy on vasal innervation was conducted by Dixon et al. in 1987.8 This group utilized immunohistochemical staining and electron microscopy to evaluate the intramural autonomic innervation of the human vas deferens after vasectomy. Vasal segments were harvested during vasectomy reversal and compared with nonobstructed vasal segments acquired at the time of initial vasectomy. They found that there were marked decreases in the noradrenergic innervation of the testicular vasal remnants in previously vasectomized men. These findings imply that vasal peristalsis, which is mediated by sympathetic autonomic activity, may be irreversibly impaired after vasectomy unless significant regeneration of autonomic nerve fibers occurs in the months and years following vasectomy reversal. Unfortunately, no studies have adequately assessed the regenerative capacity of vasal intramural nerves in humans after vasovasostomy or vasoepididymostomy.

Despite the paucity of anatomic and histologic data in the literature concerning vasal nerve recovery after vasectomy reversal, a study by Shafik et al. did provide further insight regarding vasal autonomic nerve function after vasectomy and vasectomy reversal.9 Shafik utilized transcutaneous electrovasography (EVG) to record the velocity, frequency and amplitude of nerve conduction in the vas deferens in 22 healthy men, 20 vasectomized men, and 18 men after vasectomy reversal. In normal, fertile men there was minimal temporal or individual variability in vasal conduction frequency, amplitude and velocity. In contrast, vasectomized patients exhibited lower conduction frequency and amplitude in the testicular vasal remnant and irregular, described as aberrant “vasoarrhythmic” conduction patterns. One to seven years after vasectomy reversal 7 of 22 patients had successfully conceived. Interestingly, 4 of these 7 patients had a normal electrovasographic evaluation during follow-up while 3 had decreased conduction frequencies and amplitudes but did not exhibit any vasoarrhythmia. This is in contrast to the 11 patients who failed to conceive, all of whom demonstrated electrovasographic evidence of vasoarrhythmia. Notably, the likelihood of abnormal vasal conduction studies was correlated with the interval of vasal obstruction prior to vasectomy reversal. This study suggests that nerve conduction recovery may be variable after vasectomy reversal, and seems to depend upon the interval of vasal obstruction.

Significant changes also occur in epithelial cell ultra-structure within the vas deferens after vasectomy, most of which are thought to result from changes in the intraluminal pressure after vasal ligation (increased pressure in the testicular vasal remnant and decreased pressure in the abdominal vasal remnant). Andonian et al. documented this phenomenon by comparing the ultra-structural features of the abdominal and testicular vasal remnants after vasectomy (harvested at the time of vasectomy reversal) to vasal segments harvested from fertile men undergoing vasectomy.10 Transmission electron microscopic analysis of vasal segments from healthy fertile men revealed the presence of many apical cytoplasmic protrusions from epithelial principle cells into the vasal lumen. Some of these protrusions remained attached to the principle cells by a stalk, whereas others were self-contained within the lumen of the vas deferens, suggesting a secretory process. The cytoplasmic protrusions, termed “apical blebs,” contain ribosomes and endoplasmic reticulum. Interestingly, these investigators observed a marked reduction in the number of apical blebs within the testicular remnants of the vas deferens in vasectomized patients undergoing vasectomy reversal. In addition, they observed dramatic luminal narrowing, epithelial cell flattening, reduction in organelle density, and absence of apical blebs on the abdominal vasal remnant. These findings are suggestive of de-differentiation of vasal epithelium within the abdominal vasal remnant in the absence of contact with seminal plasma. Whether or not these ultra-structural changes are clinically relevant and reversible with vasovasostomy or vasoepididymostomy remains to be determined.

Morphological changes are also apparent in the human epididymides after vasectomy. Older studies of cellular morphology and ultra-structure in the epididymides of vasectomized animals have demonstrated vacuolization and increases in the number and size of lysosomes within epididymal epithelial cells11,12 as well as segmental thinning of the epithelial lining of the vas deferens and epididymis near sites of luminal distension.13 In humans, dilatation of the entire epididymal tubule has been documented, with the most pronounced increase in luminal diameter noted in the cauda. Moreover, the height of the epididymal epithelium is altered by vasectomy. In normal men, maximal epididymal height occurs in the corpus of the epididymis. After vasectomy, however, the maximal height of the epididymal epithelium occurs in the caput.14 Alternations in the height of the epithelial cell layer in the epididymis after vasectomy suggest the presence of complex molecular biological effects of vasectomy on gene expression, as epithelial cellular volume and height are thought to be indicative of underlying RNA translational and protein secretory activities.

Indeed, recent analyses of the human epididymal transcriptome using microarrays have confirmed that vasectomy causes significant alterations in epididymal gene expression. Sullivan et al. characterized the epididymal transcriptomes within each region of the epididymis in both normal and vasectomized men.15Cluster analysis of nearly 3000 genes demonstrated that expression of 1363 genes did not differ based on vasectomy status, whereas 911 genes were expressed only in normal epididymides, and 660 genes were only expressed after vasectomy. Interestingly, three of the differentially expressed genes have well-established roles in sperm maturation during epididymal transit (NPC2, CRISP1, and DCXL).

Unfortunately, no studies have directly examined the impact of vasectomy reversal on gene expression in epididymal fluid or tissue, as the only candidates for such a study would be the rare patients who desire a vasectomy subsequent to successful vasectomy reversal. However, RNA and protein detection studies in semen after vasectomy reversals have suggested that some of the alterations in epididymal gene expression that result from vasectomy may not be reversible.15 The clinical significance of such studies remains to be determined.

Vasectomy with subsequent vasectomy reversal may also be associated with detectable alterations in sperm DNA integrity. Sperm DNA integrity testing has emerged as a valuable measure of sperm quality that is predictive of natural conception, pregnancy outcomes after intrauterine insemination, and pregnancy loss after in vitro fertilization cycles.16,17 The most commonly utilized assay is the sperm chromatin structure assay (SCSA), which is a flow cytometric method that sorts sperm according to their susceptibility to DNA strand breaks upon exposure to a denaturant.

A study by Smit et al. sperm looked at DNA fragmentation with the SCSA in ejaculated semen after vasectomy reversal in 70 men. They demonstrated that sperm DNA fragmentation was increased in the vasectomy reversal patients when compared with proven fertile controls (30% vs. 15%, p < 0.001). The increase in sperm DNA fragmentation was correlated with lower sperm concentrations, lower sperm motility, and a lower percentage of morphologically normal sperm.18 Interestingly, however, there was no relationship between sperm DNA fragmentation and the likelihood of pregnancy after vasectomy reversal. Though the clinical significance of sperm DNA integrity testing after vasectomy reversal remains unclear, this supports the notion that vasectomy likely causes a myriad of molecular biological sequelae, including sperm DNA damage, which may be irreversible in some cases.

Other factors have been isolated and suggested to be associated with infertility after vasectomy reversal, including antisperm antibodies,19,20 granuloma formation21and persistent mechanical partial obstruction,22which may occur despite partial patency and sperm in the ejaculate. Epididymal function, as discussed above, has been widely studied, as has epididymal dysfunction, which is believed by many to be one of the major factors contributing to infertility after vasectomy reversal when post-surgical patency has been established by demonstrating sperm in the ejaculate. Proteins isolated in epididymal fluid harvested at the time of vasectomy reversal, such as GTPase proteins in the Ras/RAB family and Syntenins, likely play a critical in sperm maturation23 and irreversible changes in protein synthesis despite microsurgical vasovasostomy or vasoepididymostomy may play a large role in infertility despite patency after vasectomy reversal.24,25

FAQ-Vasectomy Reversal 101

39bb6928e1c930a935046397f62ef6f5

 

Articles addressing common questions regarding a vasectomy reversal.

A Microscopic Vasectomy Reversal Podcast by Dr. McHugh

If you prefer to read a PDF of Reversal 101

You can schedule your free reversal consultation 24/7 by giving us your phone number and our reversal coordinator will call you with an appointment.

A Urological Vas Deferens “Hat trick?”

hat-trick

What is a “hat trick?” Click image above to find out!

What is a vas deferns “hat trick?” Well…

I am seeing patients one day and come to a room with a chart in the door which says “Post vasectomy.” I note that the patient had had a vasectomy by me about several years  prior to this visit.

I enter the room and there I see a husband and wife and the husband is holding a newborn baby. Only a urologist can really know how it feels to be told of a possibility of a patient having a child after you did the vasectomy. It is not a good feeling…like all the blood goes to your feet feeling.

I ask, “I did your vasectomy?”

The husband says, “Yes”

I say, “Is that y’all’s baby.”

The couple smiles and beaming in unison say, “Yes”

There is a pause. I don’t know really what to say. I was about to say, “I’m sorry. You know there is a one in 2000  chance of these tubes growing back together.”

The wife says, “We are here for a vasectomy.”

Aside: I have had pregnancies after a vasectomy in career about 5 times. Usually it is because the male did not assure sterility by bringing a specimen to the office to be checked. More commonly the couple will have sex too soon after the vasectomy assuming that “If I had a vasectomy then there are no sperm.” They forget that it takes approximately thirty ejaculations to clear the sperm after a properly performed vasectomy. So sex before the sperms clears can cause pregnancy as the sperm is beyond the vasectomy site of occlusion. So even though the urologist never wants to hear about pregnancy after the vasectomy, most commonly it is not because the vasectomy was not performed properly.

Aside 2: It is also common that when a couple has a child after a vasectomy, for whatever the reason, they are happy or shall I say not disappointed about it. Some will say, “It’s God’s will.” By the tone of the conversation with the referenced couple, I felt that they were happy to have a had a child and that were not angry at me nor blaming me for anything. 

Where was I? Anyway I say, “I am sorry about this. You came to me for the vasectomy because you did not want anymore children. Regardless of the cause I apologize and will happily do the vasectomy at no charge.”

The couple appears surprised and the wife says, “We wanted a baby.”

I am relieved and the blood in body is beginning to circulate to my upper extremities again.

Another pause and now the couple appears confused.

The wife says, “Doctor McHugh, there is no reason for an apology. We are very happy.”

The husband says, “Remember…you did my vasectomy reversal last year. We just had this beautiful baby and now I want a vasectomy.” The nurse had failed to put the most recent note in the chart of this patient which would have let me know this patient had had a reversal.

So…I do the vasectomy.

A vasectomy, a reversal and baby, and then another vasectomy. A urological vas deferns “Hat trick.”

Ta Daaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!

237f903-hat