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Vasectomy Reversal

Each of your testicles makes sperm. Sperm travel from the testicles to the penis through one of 2 tubes called the vas deferens. On the way, sperm mix with other fluids to form semen, which leaves the body during ejaculation. During a vasectomy, each vas deferens is cut, preventing sperm from leaving the body. This makes you sterile (unable to make a woman pregnant). A vasectomy can sometimes be reversed, restoring the flow of sperm out of the body.

Side view of male anatomy showing bladder, seminmis, testicle, seminal vesicle, prostate, epididymitis, testicle, penis, and vas deferens

How is a vasectomy reversal done?

During a vasectomy reversal, the 2 cut ends of the vas deferens are stitched back together. With the sperm pathways restored, sperm can once again travel through the vas deferens and leave the body during ejaculation. You may then be able to father a child.

How do I get ready for a vasectomy reversal?

You will be given instructions to prepare for the vasectomy reversal. Tell your health care provider about any medications you take, including aspirin. You may be asked to stop taking some or all of these. On the day of your procedure, bring clean cotton briefs or an athletic support with you.

View of the cut ends of the vas deferens and then the restitched vas deferens.

What happens during the vasectomy reversal?

You’ll receive medication to keep you pain free. You may be awake and relaxed during the procedure. Or, you may be completely asleep. Once the medication takes effect:

  • An incision is made in your scrotum.

  • The cut ends of each vas deferens are lifted out and examined. A section of each cut end may be removed.

  • The end closer to the testicles is cut until fluid flows freely. This fluid may be looked at under a microscope to see if sperm are present.

  • The 2 cut ends are stitched together. If needed, the vas may be attached directly to the epididymis (tissue behind the testicle).

  • When both of the vas deferens are reconnected, the incisions in the scrotum are sutured closed.

What happens after a vasectomy reversal?

You may need to stay in the hospital for several hours. When it’s time to go home, have an adult family member or friend drive you. Once you’re home:

  • Take medication as directed to relieve any pain.

  • To lessen the chance of swelling, stay off your feet as much as you can for the first day.

  • Place an ice pack or bag of frozen peas (wrapped in a thin towel) on your scrotum for short amounts of time. This helps reduce swelling.

  • Wear an athletic support or snug cotton briefs for extra support.

  • Follow your health care provider's instructions for showering and bathing.

  • Ask your provider when it’s OK to have sex.

  • Avoid heavy lifting or exercise for at least 2 weeks. Ask your provider when you can return to work.


What are the possible risks and complications of vasectomy reversal?

  • Risks associated with anesthesia

  • Infection (symptoms include fever, chills, drainage from the incision site, and pain)

  • Internal bleeding of the scrotum (symptoms include increasing pain, excessive swelling, a large black-and-blue area, or a growing lump)

  • Failure of the procedure to restore fertility


Online Medical Reviewer: MMI board-certified, academically affiliated clinician
Online Medical Reviewer: Turley, Ray, BSN, MSN
Date Last Reviewed: 9/22/2014
© 2000-2014 The StayWell Company, LLC. 780 Township Line Road, Yardley, PA 19067. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.