Vasectomy Reversal Recovery: What You Can Expect
If you can remember your recovery period after vasectomy, you can expect a similar experience after your vasectomy reversal procedure as far as the pain and discomfort goes. Although a vasectomy reversal is a minimally invasive procedure, I realize that the idea of surgery in that area of your body can be alarming. However the incisions I use for a vasectomy reversal are quite small, contributing to the brief recovery period you can expect after surgery.
More than likely you’ll have your vasectomy reversal as an outpatient, meaning you can usually travel home shortly after your procedure. However, you will need a friend or family member to drive you as you’ll still be woozy from the anesthesia. The anesthesia itself can also potentially have a few after effects, including generalized aches, nausea, fatigue and throat soreness. All of these issues should dissipate within 24 hours, especially if you allow yourself some rest. If they persist or worsen, you should contact your surgeon.
The day after surgery is typically when pain and swelling become quite noticeable. Your surgeon may prescribe pain medication to help alleviate the pain in the first couple of days, but over-the-counter pain relievers like acetaminophen (such as Tylenol) or ibuprofen (such as Motrin or Advil), should suffice in helping control your discomfort in the following days.
To help with scrotal area swelling the first few days, ice packs will be beneficial, in addition to staying off your feet and keeping your legs elevated. Using the ice packs in ten-minute applications every half hour while you are awake will not only help control swelling, but they will also assist in dulling the pain.
While the risk of infection is extremely small with a vasectomy reversal, to minimize the chances you’ll want to avoid getting the incision wet for the first 48 hours after the surgery (showers are ok, but avoid completely submerging the incision in a bath.) Your surgeon will also give you a preventative course of antibiotics prior to the procedure.
Getting Back in Action
Many men are surprised to hear that they can return to work within a week of the surgery, and some within as little as two days. However, if you have a highly-active occupation, you will not be able to head back to full time work as quickly. In these scenarios, it could take several weeks before you’re ready to begin intense physical activity.
And when it comes to physical activity you should expect to be able to return to your previous level of physical activity 3-4 weeks after surgery. In particular, lifting heavy objects is dangerous while recovering from a vasectomy reversal.
For most patients the pain, swelling and bruising that accompany the recovery period limits sexual desire and makes intercourse difficult. In order to give yourself adequate time to heal, I advise patients that sexual activity can generally be resumed within three weeks. Not only would having intercourse too soon be uncomfortable, but it also has the potential for more serious complications, such as ruptures or infections.
Post-op patient care typically includes a follow-up appointment with your surgeon one week after surgery to assess the healing process. Approximately 3 weeks later after that appointment, you’ll be scheduled to provide a semen sample for analysis. The doctor will be monitoring the sperm concentration in the ejaculate until the results are consistent.
The good news is that vasectomy reversals are usually successful at returning sperm to the semen. However, a positive return of sperm is not the same as guaranteed conception. You can read more about this distinction in another article, “Getting Pregnant After Vasectomy Reversal.”
If you’re contemplating a vasectomy reversal in New York, please contact Dr. Harry Fisch for a vasectomy reversal consultation.