Mini-incision no-scalpel vasectomy reversal

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Men who want to have a vasectomy reversed may soon be able to opt for a “mini-incision, no-scalpel” operation, according to a group of surgeons who have performed a number of successful vasectomy reversals using this approach.

In vasectomy, the tube that carries sperm from the testes to the penis, the vas deferens, is severed. The operation can now be performed through a tiny incision in the scrotum, resulting in fewer complications than the more invasive approach requiring a larger incision.

Men who change their minds can choose to have the surgery reversed by reconnecting the severed ends of the vas deferens, or have sperm “retrieved” and used for in-vitro fertilization.

Couples often chose sperm retrieval, note Dr. Keith Jarvi and colleagues from Mount Sinai Hospital at the University of Toronto, because the standard vasectomy reversal can require up to two weeks of recuperation. This operation involves making a two- to three-centimeter incision in the scrotum.

Jarvi and his team developed a new approach that allows them to reconnect the vas deferens through a much smaller (one-centimeter) incision. They have used the procedure with success in 10 cases.

“This is a simple, rapid technique that could easily be used by urologists familiar with the no-scalpel vasectomy techniques,” Jarvi and colleagues report in the medical journal Urology.

However, they say it is still not known whether the new reversal technique will lead to fewer post-surgical problems than the more invasive approach.

SOURCE: Urology, October 2008.

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