How to Choose the Best Vasectomy Reversal Doctor
Any surgery, even the most routine procedure, should be considered from a number of standpoints. Is the operation necessary? Is there a non-surgical alternative? Do the potential benefits outweigh the risks inherent in every surgery? Is the surgeon competent? Do they have the technical skills required for a good chance of success? Does the surgeon have experience in this specific procedure? And at the end of the day, you want the best vasectomy reversal doctor possible.
In many cases, a vasectomy reversal procedure can be a good choice when you and your partner decide you want to have children. Depending on several factors, a reverse vasectomy procedure can be your best and least expensive option for conception and a successful pregnancy. However, the outcome of a reverse vasectomy is not guaranteed. But you can increase your chances of pregnancy by wisely choosing your vasectomy reversal surgeon.
Vasectomy Reversal Surgery is Not “Routine”
Some surgical procedures are more routine than others – not necessarily because they are easy but because they are common. Any general surgeon has experience with gallbladder and appendix removals. Any interventional cardiologist has probably performed hundreds or thousands of cardiac catheterizations. Most urologists have performed vasectomies, but the same is not true of vasectomy reversals.
A reverse vasectomy is rarer than a vasectomy. While urologists in the US perform around half a million vasectomies each year, only about 4-5% of vasectomy patients ever decide to have a vasectomy reversal. Therefore, it can be difficult to find an urologist with any experience in the procedure, much less expertise. This statement is not intended to disparage doctors who have little or no experience with vasectomy reversals, it’s simply that there is much less demand for vasectomy reversals compared to vasectomies.
Vasectomy Reversal is Technically Challenging
I certainly do not want to insinuate that a vasectomy is an “easy” procedure, but it is just a fact that some surgeries are less technically demanding than others. In a vasectomy, your surgeon must locate your vas deferens – usually by palpation or feeling with the fingertips – access the vas deferens, excise a piece of these tubules, tie off the ends, and then close the incision. A vasectomy reversal is much more complex.
With a vasectomy reversal, you may need laboratory testing before, after, and even during the surgery to determine the status of your vas deferens and semen. Also, there are actually two types of reverse vasectomy: vasovasostomy and vasoepididymostomy. Your surgeon will need to choose the appropriate procedure and approach after they have had the opportunity to examine the state of your vas deferens. In other words, the decision as to correct procedure is made during the surgery itself.
Furthermore, both procedure types are microsurgical techniques. This means your surgeon will be using an operating microscope as they work with incredibly small sutures. In fact, the sutures that I typically use during a vasectomy reversal are about the same width as a single human hair.
As you can see, all this makes for a very challenging and involved procedure. A vasectomy reversal leaves little room for surgeon error, and training and experience are absolutely paramount. This leads us to the specifics of what you should look for in your vasectomy reversal surgeon.
Of course, you will need a specialist in urology and/or reproductive medicine to perform your reverse vasectomy. Your surgeon should be board-certified and be specifically trained in vasectomy reversal procedures. Check out their website biography and curriculum vitae, and do not hesitate to pose questions about their training, experience, research, and professional associations.
I have trained many urologists in techniques used for microsurgical procedures such as vasectomy reversal and varicocele. As well, I developed new microsurgical instruments and techniques that have made the surgery more effective.
Vasectomy Reversal Doctor Expertise and Experience
As stated above, expertise and experience is crucial, especially in microsurgical technique. How many vasectomy reversals and other urologic microsurgical surgeries has your prospective surgeon performed? Has the surgeon performed both vasovasostomy and vasoepididymostomy surgeries? What is their success rate? What special expertise do they bring to the procedure? And most important, do they take the time to explain all aspects of the procedure so that you understand the methodology.
An important note: There are two sorts of success rates for vasectomy reversals. One is the percentage of men who have successful patency or return of sperm. This means that their procedure resulted in sperm traveling from their testes to become part of their semen again. Another measurement is pregnancy rate. This is the percentage of patients who were able to conceive with their partners successfully. Naturally, this number will be lower than patency rates as there may be female fertility factors at play.
In conclusion, your decision of vasectomy reversal surgeon should not be taken lightly. Do your research, ask questions, and carefully review the qualifications of any surgeon you are considering for this important procedure.
If you’re contemplating a vasectomy reversal in New York, please contact Dr. Harry Fisch for a vasectomy reversal consultation.