A vasovasostomy is a surgical procedure to restore fertility for men who are sterile. It is typically performed to reverse or undo the effects of a vasectomy operation, a reliable form of contraception (birth control). It may also be done because of genital tract obstructions (either congenital or resulting from an epididymal infection or trauma), or to relieve pain associated with post-vasectomy pain syndrome.
During a vasectomy, the ducts that carry sperm from the testicles to the seminal vesicles (vasa deferentia) are cut, tied, cauterized, or otherwise interrupted. A vasovasostomy reconnects these ducts or tubes with sutures so that the sperm may enter the semen before ejaculation (a successful vasectomy reversal does not guarantee a successful pregnancy).
If a surgeon determines (in most cases during the operation) that a vasovasostomy can't be done or isn't likely to work, he may perform a related but more complicated procedure called a vasoepididymostomy. This surgery attaches the vas deferens directly to the the small organ at the back of each testicle that holds sperm (epididymis). Sometimes a combination of the two surgical techniques is needed - a vasovasostomy on one side and a vasoepididymostomy on the other.
Both procedures are typically performed by a urologist as out-patient procedures under general (or less often regional) anesthesia. The operation usually takes from 2 to 4 hours, followed by a few more hours for recovery from the anesthetic.