Robotic Vasectomy Reversal

Robotic vasectomy reversal at a glance

  • Robotic surgery for vasectomy reversal is a procedure that revives a man’s fertility after a vasectomy — an elective form of birth control that closes off the vas deferens to block sperm from entering the seminal fluid.
  • The procedure involves a surgeon controlling a robotic surgical device to reconnect the vas deferens.
  • Robotic vasectomy reversal tends to produce better surgical outcomes than traditional surgical methods.
  • Success rates for vasectomy reversal will vary, with estimated pregnancy success rates ranging from 50 to 85 percent and higher, particularly when the reversal occurs within three years of the vasectomy.
  • Risks and considerations include anesthesia reaction, infection, bleeding, swelling, as well as prolonged swelling and general discomfort.

What is robotic surgery for vasectomy reversal?

Although a vasectomy is a form of male birth control designed to last a lifetime, the procedure can be reversed with a vasectomy reversal, medically referred to as a vasovasostomy. A robotic vasectomy reversal uses a robotic device (Pacific Urology uses the da Vinci system) to undo the vasectomy and restore a man’s fertility.

A vasectomy procedure prevents sperm from releasing into semen by clamping the vas deferens, the two tubes that carry sperm from the testicles to the tip of the penis. A vasectomy reversal repairs the vas deferens so that sperm can mix with semen and possibly fertilize a woman’s egg.

Men may decide to reverse their vasectomy for numerous reasons, including loss of a child, a new marriage with desires to have more children or just a change of heart.

If a couple is considering a vasectomy reversal to have children, they should first assess the female’s fertility to ensure that she is well enough to conceive.

Success rates

The success rate for a vasectomy reversal can be anywhere from 40 to over 90 percent. Actual results vary according to time between the vasectomy and the reversal. The longer a man goes between the initial vasectomy and the reversal procedure, the less effective the procedure may be. If a vasectomy is performed more than 10 years following a vasectomy, the success rate can drop to 30 percent.

Results of the reversal tend to be better when performed robotically. Some research suggests it is more effective than other surgical methods in returning sperm to normal count levels. In theory, this indicates that a man may have a higher chance of conceiving after the surgery.

How is robotic vasectomy reversal performed?

This surgery requires absolute precision and accuracy in order to achieve successful results. Robotic surgery offers significant advantages in that regard over other forms of vasectomy reversal surgery.

A surgeon performing the reversal controls a robotic device that physically repairs the tissue and the vas deferens. The surgeon views the surgical site with a 3D camera. The robotic arm of the device can rotate 360 degrees to maneuver around the tissue and ducts, ensuring utmost accuracy. This maneuverability allows the surgeon to perform technical moves of an exact nature in tight spaces he or she could not execute otherwise.

Risks and considerations of robotic vasectomy reversal

Although a vasectomy is considered a simple in-office procedure that requires little downtime, a vasectomy reversal requires more recovery time. The reversal surgery may take up to four hours.

Pain and discomfort will persist for a few weeks following a robotic reversal. Most men are fully recovered and can resume all activities within a month of the procedure.

Keep in mind that robotic surgery, although faster and generally more effective, results in the same risks and considerations as traditional surgery vasectomies. These include anesthesia reactions, abnormal blood loss, infection and swelling.

Contact a urologist today to determine if this procedure is right for you.