Complications of vasectomy reversal surgery

Vasectomy reversal is generally a safe procedure. The most common side-effects of this surgery are headache and nausea due to the anesthetic, and pain, soreness and swelling in the scrotum.

The commonest complication of vasectomy reversal surgery is oozing of blood from the margins of the incision. This bleeding usually stops within 12 hours of surgery. Occasionally a large bruise may develop in the scrotum. This swelling may take 4-6 weeks to resolve. If bleeding is severe, surgery maybe required. Fluid may collect in the scrotum after surgery. This is called a hydrocele and may require draining.

Infection of the scrotum is another complication of vasectomy reversal surgery. This usually presents few days after surgery, with pain and redness of the scrotum. This is treated with antibiotics.

Sperms may ooze out of the cut ends of the vas deferens after vasectomy reversal surgery and collect in the surrounding tissue. This can cause an inflammatory reaction and lead to the formation of hard lumps called sperm granulomas. These sperm granulomas are harmless and are treated with anti-inflammatory drugs. Occasionally sperm granulomas become painful and may have to be removed surgically.

Very rarely, the blood vessels which supply blood to the testis maybe damaged during vasectomy reversal surgery. The lack of blood supply may cause necrosis (death of cells) of the testis. This is called testicular atrophy. If the lack of blood supply is detected in the early stages, surgery can restore the blood suppy and prevent the testicular atrophy.

Rarely some men develop chronic pain in the scrotum after vasectomy reversal. This pain may range from mild to severe and maybe due to pinched nerves or scarring. This may require additional surgery.

Some men may experience sexual difficulties after vasectomy reversal. This not due to the surgery itself. Usually these sexual problems have an emotional basis, and maybe due to the stress placed on achieving a pregnancy. Counselling both the male and female partner helps to alleviate this problem.

There is no known increase in the risk of developing testicular or prostate cancer after vasectomy reversal surgery.

Glossary of terms used in this page:

Anesthetic: Anesthetic is a drug which causes loss of sensation.

Bruise: Bruise or contusion is discoloration of the skin caused by bleeding under the skin surface.

Incision:Incision is a cut made in the body to perform surgery.

Inflammation: Inflammation is the reaction of the body to injury, disease or irritation. The classic features of inflammation are heat, redness, pain and swelling.

Testes: Testes (singular=testis) are the male gonads. They are situated in the scrotum. They produce sperms and the male hormone, testosterone.

Vas deferens: Vasa deferentia are thin tubes which carry sperms from the testes to the urethra. Vas deferens is also known as sperm duct. Each vas deferens is about 45 cms long.

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