Healthy Living: Vasectomy reversal
50,000 men who have had a vasectomy will opt for reversal. Our Marcie Fraser discusses the conditions that help make the reversal more successful.
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Vasectomies are meant to be permanent, but for 50,000 men, they are interested in getting it reversed. Over the past few decades, vasectomy reversal techniques have evolved.
"In the seventies we began using microscopes and for the past year, I have been using the robot," said Dr. McCulough, Urologist.
The reversal involves disconnecting miniature vessels which than have to be stitched back together again. The vas vessel itself is the size of the a spaghetti strang. The inner channel of the vas, which reverse vasectomy doctors must alight, is only about one third of a milimete in diameter. The sutures that are needed to knit the two ends together is finer than a human hair, and nearly invisible so steady hands are a must.
"So you can imagine when you are working with such small structures, if you move one millimeter, you will alter the whole exposure, so once the vas is alsigned with a robot, I only have three instruments coming in that are not touching anything else," Dr. McCullough explained.
Thanks to advanced technology, the success rate is excellent. However, some men are better candidates than others. Success of the reversal depends on the condition of the patient's tissue after the original vasectomy and how long ago the vasectomy was performed. Even though using the DiVinci in vasectomy reversal is under a year old, the success rate is proof that it is working.
"I've done about a dozen, and at this point there is a learning curve that is associated with it. I have had ten out of twelve who have sperm going through the channel," noted Dr. McCullough.