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Vasectomy and Vasectomy Reversal

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Vasectomy Overview

Vasectomy is a surgical procedure in which the tube that transports sperm from the testicles is cut so that sperm are prevented from leaving the body.

The purpose is to make a man sterile (unable to father a child). Vasectomy is intended as a permanent form of male contraception.

Sperm are produced inside the testicles and mature in the epididymis, a coiled network of tubes located behind each testicle. When ejaculation occurs, sperm travel from the epididymis to a tube called the vas deferens.

The vas deferens connects to the seminal vesicles, where sperm then mix with other seminal fluids, and exit the penis through a tube called the urethra.

In a vasectomy, the vas deferens is cut and the ends are tied off, so that semen no longer contains sperm. The procedure does not affect sex drive or the ability to have an erection and ejaculate.

Approximately half a million vasectomies are performed in the United States each year.

One of the most common techniques is a brief outpatient procedure called a no-scalpel vasectomy. The surgeon feels for the vas deferens under the skin of the scrotum and holds the tube in place with a small clamp. A tiny puncture made in the scrotum provides an opening through which the surgeon cuts and ties the vas deferens.

The procedure does not require stitches and produces minimal bleeding and pain. Recovery is short and follow-up confirms the absence of sperm.

Recovery is short and follow-up confirms the absence of sperm. 

UPMC HealthBeat blog articles:

What is Vasectomy Reversal?

Vasectomy reversal is an option for couples who would like to conceive a child naturally after a vasectomy has been performed.

Vasectomy Reversal Overview

A vasovasostomy, or vasectomy reversal, is an operation to reconnect the two ends of the vas deferens that were separated at the time of a vasectomy. The reconnection allows sperm to once again mix with seminal fluid.

The most common reasons for reversal are divorce and remarriage, and the desire for a couple to have more children after initially choosing sterilization.

Advances in microsurgical techniques and the use of an operating microscope have brought improved success to vasectomy reversal.

The procedure takes a few hours and is performed on an outpatient basis under local anesthesia. Recovery is short and follow-up confirms the absence of sperm.

Vasectomy Reversal Treatments and Surgery

Patients are seen by highly-trained surgeons, who offer two different surgeries (vasovasostomy and vasoepididymostomy) to restore flow of sperm for couples to pursue spontaneous pregnancy. Freezing sperm at the time of reversal is also offered.