Each year, 500, 000 men will get a vasectomy to eliminate their chances of having children. But about five-percent of them will change their minds. Now, there’s a new procedure to reverse vasectomies and give men another chance at fatherhood.
At age 22, Charles Mitchell decided he didn’t want to have children, so he had a vasectomy.
Mitchell told Ivanhoe, “I figured the right thing to do was man up and get things snipped.”
But 10 years later, Charles was in his second marriage and had different priorities.
“I began to yearn for a family more” he said.
Like many men, Charles thought his vasectomy wasn’t reversible, but Philip Werthman, MD, MMH, FACS, Male Fertility Expert and Director of the Center for Male Reproductive Medicine and Vasectomy Reversal in Los Angeles, says that’s usually not the case.
Dr. Werthman told Ivanhoe, “People need to know this very important thing, that men can have a second chance after having a vasectomy.”
To reverse a vasectomy, doctors simply reconnect the tubes from each testicle that were clipped and blocked. However, some men develop a second blockage and require a more extensive procedure.
“The doctors would have to make a big cut and they would have to expose all the scrotal contents” Dr. Werthman explained.
But Dr. Werthman developed a new microsurgical method. Through a very small incision, he bypasses the second blockage without taking any organs out of the body.
“What that means is the less dissection, the less mucking around, the quicker the recovery, the fewer the complications” he said.
If a man has one blockage, Dr. Werthman says his reversal success rate is 98-percent. If there are two blockages, Dr. Werthman’s technique is about 65-percent successful.
After having the procedure, Charles has big news.
Mitchell exclaimed, “I do have big news. We have twins on the way! So that’s really exciting!”
Now , he’ll get a second chance at being a dad.
Dr. Werthman says the operation costs anywhere from eight to 12,000 dollars, which is half as expensive as IVF treatments. Dr. Werthman also says his oldest patient was able to reverse a vasectomy after 56 years! The man was in his 80s and was able to have two children after the reversal procedure.
BACKGROUND: A vasectomy is a surgical procedure that prevents the release of sperm, therefore preventing pregnancy. Each year, around 500,000 men request the procedure as a form of birth control. Sperm is created in the testicles and transported to the exiting tube called the urethra, by another muscular tube called the vas deferens. During a vasectomy, the vas deferens from each testicle is clamped, sealed, or clipped to block the flow of sperm. The remaining sperm is then absorbed back into the body. After surgery, patients are told to use another form of birth control until a sperm count taken at least two months after the procedure reads zero. Vasectomies are considered 99.85 percent effective and have a low risk of complications. Only one to two women out of 1,000 experienced unplanned pregnancy in the first year following their husband’s surgery. (Source: http://www.webmd.com/sex/birth-control/vasectomy-14387)
VASECTOMY REVERSALS: Contrary to popular belief, vasectomies can be reversed. Around five percent of vasectomy patients seek to reverse the procedure. The reversal is called vasovasotomy and occurs when doctors reconnect the clipped or sealed vas deferens. When vasectomy reversals were first developed, the success rate was between 40 and 50 percent, but new innovations have made the success rate of vasectomy reversals much higher. After the introduction of microsurgery, 75 to 95 percent of men saw a return of sperm in their semen, and pregnancy resulted in 30 to 75 percent of the cases. (Source: http://www.vasectomy.com/vasectomy-reversal/procedure/the-vasectomy-reversal-procedure).
NEW TECHNOLOGY: Some men seeking a vasectomy reversal develop a second blockage. It is detected by collecting a small amount of fluid from the testicular end of the vas deferens. The fluid quality and amount is examined, and the results give the doctor an indication that a blockage may have occurred in a coiled tube near the testicles called the epididymis. Previously, this would have been difficult to correct, but Philip Werthman, MD, developed a new microsurgical method that allows the surgeon to bypass this blockage easier and more effectively. “The doctors would have to make a big cut and they would have to expose the scrotal contents,” he said of the traditional procedure. With his development of the Mini-Incision Microsurgical Vasoepididymostomy, tiny incisions allow the doctor to access both blockage sites without having to open up the entire scrotum.
WHO IS DR. WERTHMAN? Dr. Phillip Werthman is a vasectomy reversal surgeon and male fertility specialist at the Center for Male Reproductive Medicine and Vasectomy Reversal in Los Angeles, CA. He is also an assistant clinical professor of urology at the University of Southern California School of Medicine and author of two textbooks on male fertility. Dr. Werthman graduated from Hahnemann University School of Medicine in Philadelphia as the class valedictorian. He then completed a seven-year residency and fellowship in urology at the University of California, Los Angeles. Dr. Werthman was also granted a visiting fellowship in male infertility and microsurgery at the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. He says he has done thousands of reversals and stopped counting years ago. (Source: http://www.malereproduction.com/about-cmrm/dr-philip-werthman.php)
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