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The decision to proceed with a vasectomy is a very personal one. It is important that patients have a clear understanding of what a vasectomy is.

What is a vasectomy?

A vasectomy is a minor surgical procedure that accomplishes a permanent method of birth control. It works by blocking the tubes — known as the vas deferens — that carry sperm from the testicles into the semen while allowing the volume of the ejaculate to remain about the same.

After the procedure, the body continues to produce sperm that are trapped in the testicles in a structure called the epididymis, where they are eventually reabsorbed by the body.

However, because the body continues to produce sperm, vasectomies are considered to be reversible.

Vasectomy reversal

Although vasectomy is considered a permanent method of birth control, a vasectomy reversal — also known as a vasovasostomy — gives patients the option of restoring fertility.

Unlike the simplicity and quickness of a vasectomy, a reversal requires the use of microsurgical techniques. Therefore, a vasectomy reversal is a significantly longer and more complicated procedure.

Results are best when working with an experienced (micro) surgeon. Like a vasectomy, it is a procedure that should be thoroughly considered before proceeding.

Success rates tend to be highest when it has only been a few years after a vasectomy and are lower if it has been many years. However, even when performed decades after the original procedure, reversal success is possible. An initial evaluation with a physician is a must to ensure patients are a good candidate for the procedure.

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