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Docteur Jean-Philippe Bercier BSc, MD, CCFP

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Vasovasostomy (VV) and Vasoepididymostomy (VE)

Vasovasostomy (VV) and Vasoepididymostomy (VE)—What’s the Difference?

A vasectomy is a procedure that prevents sperm from entering semen by cutting the vas deferens. Although a vasectomy is considered permanent birth control for men who don’t want a future pregnancy, a vasectomy reversal is a surgical procedure that allows a change of mind. There are two separate procedures that might be involved in a vasectomy reversal, the vasovasostomy and the vasoepididymostomy.

What Is a Vasovasostomy?

The VV procedure is the true vasectomy reversal. In this procedure, a small incision is made in the scrotum near the site of the original vasectomy. The ends of the vas deferens are revealed and surgically reconnected to restore the path of the sperm. This surgery is done under local anesthesia. It takes around four hours in the doctor’s office to complete the VV.

What Is a Vasoepididymostomy?

The VE procedure is a more technical procedure that treats obstruction of the epididymis. Sperm travels from the testis to the epididymis to acquire the ability to swim, then they go to the vas deferens to enter semen. After a vasectomy, the epididymis can become blocked or scarred. This obstruction prevents the passage of sperm. The longer it has been since the vasectomy, the higher the risk of blockage in the epididymis. The VE procedure has a longer recovery time than the VV, because a larger incision must be made, but the VE is a procedure that should be done in conjunction with the VV.

Do You Need One or Both Procedures?

The VV will not be successful if there is blockage in the epididymis, but there isn’t a good way to determine if you need a VE in conjunction with the VV before the procedure. A physical exam and assessment of your original vasectomy can help tell the doctor if a VE may be necessary.

Get a consultation for a vasectomy reversal when you make an appointment with Dr. Bercier in Ottawa, Montreal or Hawkesbury.