Practice patterns in vasectomy reversal surgery: Results of a questionnaire study among practicing urologists

Donald S. Crain, James L. Roberts, Christopher L. Amling

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Purpose: Although vasectomy reversal surgery is a common procedure for male factor infertility, little is written on the common practice patterns of the practicing urologist. We designed a questionnaire to assess the practice patterns of community and academic urologists with respect to surgical technique, followup care, patient selection and the definition of success. Materials and Methods: A 20-question survey pertaining to vasectomy reversal surgery was mailed to members of the Western Section, American Urological Association and to members of the Society of Government Service Urologists. Survey results were tabulated in a computer data base and statistical analysis was performed. Results: A total of 1,508 questionnaires were mailed and 622 completed questionnaires were returned. Of the respondents 367 (59%) indicated that they perform vasectomy reversals, including 29 (8%) who were fellowship trained in infertility, 86 (23%) who were affiliated with residency training and 252 (69%) who practiced in a community setting. As expected, on average fellowship trained urologists performed more reversals yearly than academic or community urologists (26.4, 12.2 and 7, respectively). Patient selection criteria varied. Of fellowship trained urologists 12.5% would elect not to operate if it were greater than 15 years since vasectomy compared with 41.9% for academic and 57.1% of community urologists. Just more than half (50.2%) of respondents indicated they did not recommend routine gynecologic evaluation of the patient partner. When comparing fellowship, academic and community practitioners, an operating microscope was used in 93%, 65% and 56% of procedures (p < 0.001), and vasal fluid was examined in 83%, 75% and 67%, respectively. Fellowship trained urologists also used finer suture material (p < 0.001). An average of 8 anastomotic sutures were placed in 2 layers but significant differences existed between fellowship trained urologists, and their academic and community counterparts. Most urologists (71%) defined their success by the presence of sperm in the ejaculate. Only 10.9% of urologists recommended sperm cryopreservation at surgery and 90% recommended postoperative sexual abstinence (average 3 weeks). All urologists recommended postoperative semen analysis done at an average of 3 months. Conclusions: The practice of vasectomy reversal varies among urologists. Differences in surgical technique, postoperative care and selection criteria exist. Knowledge of these variations may assist practicing urologists to tailor their practice patterns in the selection for and performance of vasectomy reversal.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)311-315
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Urology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Physician's practice patterns
  • Questionnaires
  • Testis
  • Vasectomy
  • Vasovasostomy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Urology


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