Vasectomy reversal technology makes Austin a top spot for the surgery

Jon Nash decided to have a vasectomy reversal a few years ago. Now he has two children with his wife Madeleine. (KXAN Photo)
Jon Nash decided to have a vasectomy reversal a few years ago. Now he has two children with his wife Madeleine. (KXAN Photo)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Nationwide, half a million men undergo vasectomies every year to keep unwanted pregnancies at bay. But, when the patient changes his mind, there are a couple of choices: Robot or human reversal?

Now, technology is making Austin one of the top destinations for vasectomy reversals.

Jon Nash, 47, didn’t think he would have pool time with his children. Nearly 15 years ago, he had a vasectomy. Then, he met his wife, Madeline, who wanted children.

“We had some very serious conversations about what this meant for us,” said his wife. “He had had a vasectomy for so long–at this point that there was a real possibility that a reversal might not work.”

Nash decided to go for the robotic surgery. With the help of a robotic arm, called the Davinci Robotic System, doctors were able to undo his vasectomy.

About a year later, Robert, now 4 years old, came along, followed by Meadow, who is now 2.

“It’s the best thing in the world,” Nash said. “I love being a dad.”

Dr. Parviz Kavoussi, a reproductive urologist at St. David’s South Austin Medical Center, performed Nash’s surgery. Kavoussi said of the 500,000 men across the country who get a vasectomy every year, about six percent rethink the decision.

Since the procedure is delicate, Kavoussi says when he works with the robot, he is better able to get to the microscopic ducts that are snipped or tied years ago.

“It’s like the period of the end of a sentence on print,” Kavoussi said, “it’s tiny.”

Kavoussi says he still offers the older “by-hand” version of the surgery, but he’s glad many patients are asking for the robot.

“Human hands and wrists can only make so many twists and turns. There are limitations on the movements we get,” said Kavoussi. “[The robot] doesn’t have those limitations. So, it makes it a lot more of an elegant, fluid operation for me.”

The decision to get a reversal makes this Father’s Day weekend one of no regrets for Nash.

“If I had been a dad in my 30s, I would have been a good dad. But now, I’m a great dad,” Nash said.

Austin is the second-most popular place for men to have this procedure, behind Orlando, Fla. Vasectomy reversal costs start somewhere in the neighborhood of $3,000.

Kavoussi said the time span between a vasectomy and a reversal could affect a man’s chances of having children. Between seven and eight years, reversals are about 97 percent successful. But after 15 years, that number drops to 75 percent.

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