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Can vasectomies actually be reversed?


The Vasovasostomy Procedure
A vasectomy reversal is a tempting option, but it's not quite as easy as slapping on a Band-Aid.
A vasectomy reversal is a tempting option, but it's not quite as easy as slapping on a Band-Aid.
© istockphoto.com/cloki

Not surprisingly, "uncutting" the vas deferens is not as easy as cutting it. While a vasectomy takes about 20 minutes [source: Planned Parenthood], a reversal of the procedure can take anywhere from two to four hours [source: WebMD]. Neither procedure requires an overnight hospital stay, but with a simple vasectomy a man can be in and out of the doctor's office or hospital in about an hour or two. With a vasovasostomy, he should take the entire day off and expect to be in the hospital for at least six hours.

The procedure can take even longer if there is an obstruction of the epididymis, the "sperm storage facility" where sperm mature. This type of obstruction is common after a vasectomy. A vasovasostomy with obstruction removal is called a vasoepididymostomy, which can take about an hour longer than a vasovasostomy. Also, if this type of procedure needs to be done, the chances of sperm production drop considerably.

During a vasovasostomy, the surgeons will usually make an incision directly over the vasectomy scar, which is about 2 centimeters long. Once they locate the vas deferens on both sides, they recut it to create clean edges that are then sewn back together. The patient is then all stitched up and sent home after a few hours in recovery. Recovery takes approximately a month, with patients going back to work within three to seven days but refraining from sex for the full month.

Just as the reversal surgery is more complicated than the vasectomy, the price of both procedures differs greatly in price. A vasectomy can cost anywhere from $300 to $1,000, but is often covered by insurance [source: eMedicineHealth]. However, vasovasostomies can run anywhere from $4,000 to $13,000 and are rarely covered by insurance [source: Planned Parenthood].

To learn more about vasectomy reversal, take a look at the links on the next page.