OHSU Performs 2000th Vasectomy Reversal on Cusp of Year 2000

12/29/00    Portland, Ore.

OHSU Urologist Is One of Only Three Physicians in the United States to Achieve This Milestone

Today Oregon Health Sciences University urologist Eugene Fuchs, M.D, became one of only three urologists in the country to perform 2,000 or more vasectomy reversals. Fuchs was the first physician at OHSU to use microscopic surgery to perform this procedure in 1980 and the first in the country to perform the procedure without using a general anesthesia.

"This milestone shows that we can reliably execute a procedure that allows men to produce another child following a vasectomy," said Fuchs, professor of surgery in the OHSU School of Medicine's Division of Urology.

Of all men who will have a vasectomy, 5 percent will consider having it reversed. Vasectomy reversals are performed on men for two reasons. The first and most common is to re-establish sperm flow after a vasectomy in order to produce children. In a small number of cases, men may suffer from post-vasectomy pain syndrome, which also requires a vasectomy reversal. During a vasectomy the vas deferens, the tube that carries the sperm from the testicle, is severed and plugged to prevent sperm flow. In a reversal procedure, the physician unplugs the tube and reattaches the vas deferens. Men of all ages request vasectomy reversals, with the average age being about 37.

Performing a vasectomy reversal on 2,000 men has offered Fuchs the opportunity to do several studies to improve procedure techniques and outcomes. In 95 percent of vasectomy reversal cases, sperm flow is successfully achieved. The success rate for this procedure resulting in a pregnancy is about 58 percent. Part of the research looks at how the time lapse between vasectomy and reversal, and a woman's age factor into the success of pregnancies following reversals. Fuchs' studies have found that the age of the female partner impacts the success rate for pregnancies. The older the female, the less likely she is to conceive a child because the viability of eggs -- unlike sperm - declines with age. Most recently, Fuchs compared the pregnancy success rate following a vasectomy reversal in which the lapsed time from vasectomy to reversal in men was more than 15 years vs. in-vitro fertilization (IVF) with intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI). The study found that vasectomy reversal was more effective than IVF with ICSI in successfully achieving pregnancy in couples where the female partner was less than 35 years of age.