A Guide On How To Identify A True Microsurgical Specialist
The decision to start or extend a family by welcoming in a new baby is an exciting time. For men who have had a previous vasectomy, the field of Urology offers techniques for surgically reversing a vasectomy to allow natural pregnancies again. These microsurgical techniques have been continually revised and refined over the past several decades and now offer very safe and successful vasectomy reversal outcomes when used in conjunction with the latest operating microscopes and anesthesia techniques.
In recent years, the outlook for couples looking into their fertility options following a previous vasectomy have never been better in terms of safety and fertility success rates. The only negative aspect facing couples today is that insurance companies rarely, if ever, cover vasectomy reversal procedures. This dilemma forces couples to try and balance between cost and quality when choosing their reversal surgeon. A search of the internet and local phone book will show that couples have essentially three choices:
1) A Non-Urologist
-These doctors are the ‘Bargain’ vasectomy reversal doctors who extensively market on the internet. Without even looking into their background training, these non-urologists can almost always be identified by two key aspects, the most obvious of which is offering a very cheap reversal ($3000 or less) under local anesthesia in their office. The other aspect which many (but not all) of these ‘Bargain’ reversal doctors share is the use of a religious theme on their websites. Having children is a very spiritual experience, but it is an interesting and unexplained finding to me as to why if I see a website filled with Scripture quotes or religious references, it is almost always from a doctor whose actual training was in some medical field other than urology.
2) A General Urologist
-These doctors have completed basic urologic training and are very proficient at treating general urologic issues, like kidney stones and prostate problems. General urologists have learned the skills to allow them to safely operate within the scrotum. However, the teaching of advanced microsurgical skills is typically quite limited during general urologic training.
3) Fellowship-Trained Microsurgical Specialist
-These doctors are board-certified urologists who have completed further advanced fellowship training in the latest most effective microsurgical vasectomy reversal techniques. Less than 1-2% of urologists choose to complete a full 1-2 year fellowship training program in microsurgery.
When evaluating your options for choosing a vasectomy reversal surgeon, the question you need to ask yourself is:
#1) Do you want to find the cheapest price at which you can get the procedure performed
#2) Do you want the most effective techniques with the highest chance of success, but at a reasonable price
If a couple is just looking for the cheapest procedure possible, or if they are in the unfortunate circumstance of absolutely not being able to afford anything more than $3000 (even with available financing options), then they really do not need to read any further. If price is the only consideration, these couples would be best served with seeing a non-urologist for a quick (1.5 hour) reversal procedure under local anesthesia. A certain (lower) percentage of these cheap quick reversal procedures performed without the use of the latest microsurgical techniques will be successful, and they just might get lucky.
However, if you are really looking for your best chance of success in building your family, take a few minutes to read through this website. It is designed to see past the ‘smoke and mirrors’ of many reversal websites and allow you to accurately evaluate the training backgrounds and claims of the multitude of reversal doctors out there. You only get one first best chance at vasectomy reversal success. Knowledge is power, and the goal of this website is to empower couples to make the most informed choices possible for this very important decision.
Male Reproductive Medicine
Shane Russell, MD
Serving the Ohio Valley Region and Upper Mid-West including: Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, West Virginia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Iowa, New York, Tennessee, Missouri, and Virginia.