Vasectomy Reversal

Vasectomy Reversal Recovery

After the Vasectomy Reversal: Post Operative Pain & Side Effects

By Martin Bastuba, MD, FACS

A vasectomy reversal procedure does not require an overnight hospital stay and lasts from 3 to 5 hours at an outpatient surgery center. Pain and discomfort after the procedure are very manageable, and may be similar to the pain experienced after the vasectomy. Swelling, bruising or discoloration of the scrotal area is normal and generally does not need a doctor’s attention.

Immediately after the surgery, ice packs placed on the scrotum area are recommended to reduce any swelling and pain. A prescription pain medication will be available for the first two days after the procedure and can be taken as necessary. Often times after the second day, Tylenol, Motrin or Advil will be sufficient to eliminate discomfort or pain.

Due to the superficial nature of the procedure, risks, post-op discomfort and disruption of normal activities are limited. Patients routinely return back to work in an office setting in approximately three days and physically strenuous work within 4 weeks. Sexual intercourse can be resumed as soon as four weeks after the surgery.

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Immediate post-op patient care includes a follow-up consultation to evaluate the healing process at approximately one week and a semen analysis after approximately 4 weeks. Sperm concentration in the ejaculate will be monitored until results are consistent. When good seminal parameters are obtained, Dr. Bastuba recommends that sperm samples be frozen early on, since there is a low but present possibility of a scar down of the reversal2 (Jarow et al. 1995. Journal of Urology).

Possible Vasectomy Reversal Complications

If a patient experiences pain or unusual swelling in the scrotum area, contact Dr. Bastuba immediately. For acute medical problems, someone is always on call. If you are not able to get to Dr. Bastuba directly, you MUST call the main office number directly to contact the physician on call. Routine operative complications may include infections, bleeding and side effects of anesthesia.

Special side-effects for this procedure can include delayed scar down (rate: 2% per year for the first 5 years post-op)3 (Mayo Clinic 2019), moderate swelling, bruising in the area, discoloration in the area or even of the penis, as blood can travel underneath the skin. Other side-effects may include post-operative pain, continued absence of sperm from the ejaculate, continued inability to initiate a pregnancy, high riding testicles, especially if large portions of the vas deferens were removed at time of the initial vasectomy or if it is a redo vasectomy reversal. Even loss of testicular tissue is a possibility. Though Dr. Bastuba has never experienced this in any of his patients, it has been reported in literature related to the procedure. Severe complications that require additional surgery are quite rare.


  1. Gerrard ER Jr, Sandlow JI, Oster RA, Burns JR, Box LC, Kolettis PN. 2007. Effect of female partner age on pregnancy rates after vasectomy reversal. Fertility and Sterility. 87(6):1340-4.
  2. Jarow JP1, Sigman M, Buch JP, Oates RD. 1995. Delayed appearance of sperm after end-to-side vasoepididymostomy. Journal of Urology. 153(4):1156-8.
  3. Mayo Clinic Staff. Vasectomy, Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and
    Research, February 14, 2019,
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