In Case You’re Still Worried, Latest Research Shows Vasectomy Reversals Aren’t Related to Prostate Cancer | Minneapolis & St. Paul

The fear of increasing one’s risk of prostate cancer has stopped some men from undergoing a vasectomy or vasectomy reversal, thanks to old ’90s research that has since been refuted. We touched upon this topic in an earlier blog post, but new research has surfaced to confirm, once again, that prostate cancer and vasectomy-related procedures are NOT correlated.

Curtin University in Western Australia recently released research in The Journal of Urology that observed 10,000 men worldwide who had undergone vasectomy reversals. The paper, spearheaded by Dr. Sean Randall of Curtin University’s Centre for Data Linkage, examined the theory that “if a vasectomy is considered a cause of prostate cancer, then vasectomy reversal should hypothetically decrease the risk of prostate cancer.”

However, Randall confirmed that his team’s studies failed to find any sort of link between vasectomy reversals and prostate cancer, thereby also concluding that there is “no clinically meaningful relationship between men who had had vasectomies and the rate of prostate cancer.”

The paper studied 684,660 men with vasectomies in Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom, including 9,754 men with vasectomy reversals, from 1972 to 2016.

Thanks to Curtin University’s research and similar studies from other institutions, the myth of increased prostate cancer risk following a vasectomy is quickly fading away. For those considering a vasectomy or vasectomy reversal, this is an extremely significant development that can help more men accurately weigh their options.

Looking for a vasectomy or vasectomy reversal consultation? Let us know! Call us at (952) 922-2151, or visit our Edina office at 6545 France Avenue South, Suite 290.

 

This One Nutrient May Help Improve Male Fertility | Minneapolis & St. Paul

If you’re looking for a natural, inexpensive way of boosting sperm quality and overall fertility, the answer may lie within…tomatoes?

Recent studies have shown that lycopene, a natural, plant-derived carotenoid pigment that provides the red color of tomatoes, watermelon and other fruits, contains powerful antioxidants that protect the body’s cells—including sperm. Lycopene acts to prevent free radicals from attaching to and harming our cells, which in turn can help increase sperm count and improve the body’s overall immune system. On the flip side, men who consume low amounts of lycopene tend to have lower overall sperm quality.

According to Life Extension magazine, one study showed that after being given two milligrams of lycopene twice daily, male subjects with impaired fertility showed improved sperm concentration, improved motility and improved numbers of normal sperm forms. Furthermore, 23 percent of the subjects achieved fatherhood.

Found mostly in sun-ripened tomatoes, lycopene can be consumed through processed tomato products (contains the highest amount of lycopene), pink grapefruits, watermelons, apricots, guavas, papayas and rose hips. Canned tomatoes used to make pasta or pizza sauce, as well as ketchup, may be your best bet in consuming a larger amount of lycopene in one sitting. In terms of manufactured options, lycopene is mostly available in capsule and softgel form, with dosage guidelines from manufacturers ranging from 10-30 mg twice daily. Multivitamin and multimineral products are also available.

 

Robot-Assisted Vasectomy Reversals: Are They Reliable? | Minneapolis & St. Paul

From self-order kiosks to robot vacuum cleaners and robot cafes, the rise of robot-assisted experiences in recent years has been undeniable. But would you ever consider participating in a robot-assisted surgical procedure?

In a previous blog post, we detailed the pros and cons of electing a robotic vasectomy reversal over a traditional vasectomy reversal performed by a surgeon. While a robot would provide more precise cuts and deliver a more efficient process overall, actual results seemed to show that patient outcomes were simply comparable to, rather than improved from, those of traditional reversals. And since robot machines are quite expensive, most surgical centers are sticking to traditional reversals for the time being.
 
However, costs aside, it’s still noteworthy to highlight the reliability and effectiveness of robot-assisted vasectomy reversals. A 2014 study conducted by urologist Parviz K. Kavoussi concluded that “transitioning from MVR (microsurgical vasectomy reversal) to RAVR (robot-assisted vasectomy reversal) is feasible with comparable outcomes.”
 
Comparing 27 men who elected MVR and 25 men who elected RAVR, Kavoussi found that there was “no statistically significant difference” between the two groups in “overall patency rates (89 percent vs 92 percent), six weeks post-VR mean sperm concentrations (28 million ml−1 vs 26 million ml−1), total motile counts (29 million vs 30 million) or mean operative times (141 min vs 150 min).”

Interestingly, the study also found that for men who were in the 0–8 years obstructed interval, RAVR had a 100 percent patency rate compared to an 89 percent patency rate for MVR. This particular finding could be a game changer in the development of robotic vasectomy reversals and significantly influence some patients’ preferred techniques.

As more research on robot-assisted procedures surfaces in the coming years, we may see shifts in how doctors and patients perceive such methods. One thing’s for certain, though—the use of robots in everyday life will surely become more common than ever.

 

8 Foods That Boost Sperm Health and Male Fertility | Minneapolis & St. Paul

If you’re trying to conceive, good diet and nutrition habits are essential for healthy sperm development. While overall sperm count is an important aspect of male fertility, the sheer number of sperm shouldn’t be the only factor considered. Sperm vitality is what we’re after, so the following must all be factored in:

  • Sperm Count: The number and concentration of sperm cells in a sample
  • Semen Volume: A minimum amount of semen needed to actually deliver the sperm cells
  • Sperm Morphology: The size and shape of sperm cells
  • Sperm Motility: Ability of the sperm cells to properly “swim”
  •  
    To improve sperm quality and boost your chances of conception, eat more of the eight nutrition-packed foods below:

    1. Walnuts

    Walnuts are PACKED with omega-3 fatty acids and zinc. While omega-3 helps enhance sperm count, morphology and motility, zinc works to regulate overall sperm count and quality. Just one handful of walnuts daily can help boost sperm quality.

    2. Tomatoes

    We detailed the link between tomatoes and male fertility in a previous post and continue to stand by this food’s high amount of Vitamin C and lycopene. Lycopene has been shown to improve sperm motility and can be found more in cooked tomatoes.

    3. Green, leafy vegetables

    Spinach, romaine lettuce, brussels sprouts, asparagus—they’re full of folate, a B vitamin linked to healthy sperm DNA and higher sperm densities.

    4. Fish

    Fish and seafood contain lots of Vitamin B-12, a nutrient that enhances sperm motility, increases sperm count and reduces damage to sperm DNA. Fish also provides Vitamin D and the antioxidant Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10).

    5. Dark Chocolate

    In addition to tasting great, dark chocolate can help increase sperm volume and sperm count. After consumption, the chocolate transforms into nitric oxide, which promotes sperm function.
     
    6. Meat/Poultry

    Meat and poultry contain an amino acid known as D-aspartic acid, which is believed to help regulate testosterone. There’s research suggesting that sodium D-aspartic acid supplements can increase sperm count and motility.

    7. Lentils

    Just like green vegetables, lentils are rich in folate. Men with lower folate intakes have been shown to have higher rates of sperm chromosomal abnormalities.

    8. Ginseng

    It has long been believed that ginseng root and ginseng supplements can improve sperm development. Ginsenoside, an active ingredient in ginseng, may stimulate nitric oxide production, and men who take ginseng supplements appear to have higher sperm counts and increased sperm motility.

     

    Shake Off Your Concerns About Vasectomy-Related Birth Defects | Minneapolis & St. Paul

    A question that occasionally comes up regarding vasectomy reversals is whether or not the reversal increases the chance of future birth defects. Considering the lack of studies on this topic, it’s a completely warranted concern for couples who are planning their futures and who might find the potential risk unsettling.

    While there have indeed been studies suggesting that men who previously underwent a vasectomy may experience higher rates of sperm abnormalities, follow-up studies have NOT been conducted to successfully link birth defects to vasectomy reversals. Furthermore, studies have suggested that the rate of birth defects may actually be higher among babies conceived through in vitro fertilization (IVF) and intra-cytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI). At the Scott Department of Urology at Baylor College of Medicine, researchers found that the rate of birth defects in conventional IVF was nine percent, while that of ICSI was roughly the same at 8.6 percent.

    In a landmark study from the Vasovasostomy Study Group (VVSG) published in 1991, Dr. Arnold Belker and four other expert microsurgeons examined various facets of vasectomy reversal, including the risk of birth defects. Their trial, which followed 291 children born post-vasectomy reversal, found that only three of the 291 subjects displayed birth defects. That’s a one percent birth defect rate.

    Compare this number to the overall birth defect rate in the entire U.S. population, and you’ll find that it compares quite favorably. According to the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM), approximately three percent of children born in the US are born with major birth defects. After accounting for birth-related developmental abnormalities by the age of one, this number rises to about six or seven percent.

    All in all, the risk of post-vasectomy reversal birth defects shouldn’t stop you from planning your future, as the odds don’t vary too much from that of the general population.

    For more information on One Stop Medical Center’s no-scalpel vasectomy reversal procedure, please contact us for a consultation.

     

    Can Sperm Antibodies Affect Vasectomy Reversal Results? | Minneapolis & St. Paul

    You may be familiar with the term “antibodies” as “something that helps the body ward off disease,” but the notion of sperm antibodies might seem counterintuitive. After all, why would the body want to destroy perfectly good sperm?

    Antibodies, small molecules that the body naturally produces to fight off infections, essentially stick to and kill off invading/unfamiliar cells. Sperm, however, are protected from being targeted by these antibodies via the blood-testis barrier, which physically prevents sperm from interacting with the blood stream. The body normally isn’t even aware of the presence of sperm.

    However, when the blood-testis barrier is compromised due to surgery, trauma to the area, or abnormal development of the testis, sperm may be detected and targeted by antibodies. In the case of a vasectomy, the vas deferen is cut and may leak sperm, potentially allowing the body to “see” and detect sperm for the first time. As a result, the body naturally produces antibodies to fight the sperm, which can affect sperm function and overall motility. Research suggests that at least 70 percent of men have detectable antibodies following a vasectomy, with 50–80 percent of cases occurring in the first year after the procedure. A small percentage of patients who do not develop antibodies in the first year develop them in the second or third year.

    While antibodies can cause problems for some patients, they aren’t usually responsible for post-vasectomy reversal infertility. A recent study published in Urology concluded that patients who experienced poor sperm quality actually had partially blocked vas deferens following a reversal. The patients’ initial post-reversal low motility wasn’t a result of sperm antibodies. After correcting the blockage issue, most patients were able to successfully conceive.

    Furthermore, despite some research suggesting that antibodies may decrease the chance of pregnancy after a reversal, the high overall post-operative conception rate (50-70 percent) and the uncertain correlation between antibody testing and post-operative pregnancy rates make antibody presence a controversial predictor of fertility.

     

    Recovering After Your Vasectomy Reversal | Minneapolis & St. Paul

    After undergoing a vasectomy reversal, patients can expect a recovery process similar to that of their original vasectomy. Pain and swelling in the groin is to be expected for about 1-3 weeks, but most patients are able to return to work and daily activities within one week. Below is a breakdown of what to expect for post-surgery care and recovery:
     

    Incision Care After Surgery

  • Thin, clear, pink-colored fluid may drain from the incision site for about 12-24 hours following surgery.
  • Your doctor may ask you to wear an athletic supporter (jockstrap) or supportive underwear for three weeks after the procedure.
  • After surgery, you may take a quick shower in 2 days. Make sure to pat the incision dry. Do NOT take a bath for about 7 days.
  • If a drain is placed in the mid of scrotum, it is expect to have it removed in 24 hours, unless your doctor instructs you not to. Any stitches should dissolve in 7-10 days.
  • An ice pack can help ease discomfort following surgery, but your scrotum is packed with thick dressing after procedure, therefore, it is not convenient to apply ice pack. If you do, place it against your scrotum (ideally wrapped in a thin cloth) for 10-20 minutes at a time, every 4 hours.
  •  

    Pain Medications

  • Over-the-counter pain relievers such as Tylenol or ibuprofen (Motrin or Advil) should suffice in helping control any discomfort in the first few days. Try not to take Ibuprofen in the first 2 days to reduce the chance of bleeding
  • Take all pain medicines exactly as directed by your doctor.
  • If your doctor prescribed antibiotics, take them as directed. Continue taking them even if you start feeling better.
  • If you take blood thinners, such as warfarin, clopidogrel, or aspirin, your doctor will let you know when it’s appropriate to restart those medications again.
  • If your pain medicine is making you feel sick and unable to stomach food, take your medicine after meals (unless instructed not to), Or switch to over-the-counter pain relievers such as Tylenol OR ask your doctor for a different pain medicine.
  •  

    Returning to Regular Activities

  • Lie down and stay off your feet as much as possible in the first four days. Make sure to rest whenever you feel tired. Do not overexert yourself!
  • After four days, you can start easing back into walking everyday. Increase your walking distance bit by bit each day to regain circulation in your body. Again, rest immediately if you feel tired.

  • Most patients are able to drive and return to work in a week after surgery. However, if your work requires more physical strain on your body, it may take at least two to three weeks before you return.
  • For approximately 3-4 weeks after surgery, avoid strenuous activities like biking, jogging, weight training and high-impact exercises.
  • In the first two weeks, avoid lifting anything heavy that may strain your body. This includes heavy groceries, children, boxes and heavier household items.
  • Ask your doctor when it is appropriate for you to have sex again. Patients are typically advised to refrain from sex for about 3 weeks after surgery.
  •  

    Food/Diet

  • You’re free to return to your normal diet after surgery.
  • If your stomach bothers you for any reason, try eating plain, low-fat foods like rice, broiled chicken, toast and yogurt.
  • Unless otherwise directed, drink plenty of fluids!
  •  

    Follow-Up Appointments

    You are not required to have an office visit for follow up less you develop complications. Our staff will call you next day to check how you are doing. About 6 weeks after surgery, you should go to a local lab for semen analysis to see if the operation was successful.

     

    Clearing Up Vasectomy Reversal Myths | Minneapolis & St. Paul

    You may have contemplated whether or not a vasectomy reversal is the right option for you. But even after weighing the pros and cons, you may still be wondering if you have all the facts—after all, there’s a ton of information out there. It’s crucial to know what’s true and false about vasectomy reversals, so let’s break down some of its most common myths below.

    Myth: Vasectomy reversals are NOT effective for older men.

    It is entirely possible for an older patient to successfully undergo a vasectomy reversal and conceive a child. However, just as women may have more difficulty becoming pregnant as they advance in age, older men can also experience lower quality sperm that affects their overall chance of conceiving.

    Myth: After 10 years, a vasectomy reversal will NOT work.

    While it’s true that higher success rates are associated with vasectomy reversals performed closer to the original vasectomy date (within five years), the average success rates for ALL reversals—including those performed even 15 years after—are still fairly high. Your chances of a successful reversal increase greatly by finding a highly-skilled doctor to perform the procedure.

    Myth: In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) is quicker and easier than having a vasectomy reversal.

    Many couples tend to assume that IVF is both easier and more cost-effective, but IVF can be extremely draining and time-consuming. In fact, the cost of IVF is actually more expensive than that of vasovasostomy (the most common type of vasectomy reversal) performed in an office setting. IVF often requires multiple cycles and treatments, potentially becoming much more expensive than initially believed.

    Myth: Vasectomy reversals are 100 percent guaranteed to work and lead to fatherhood.

    Success rates change depending on individual patient circumstances and do not solely rely on whether or not a reversal procedure was performed. Important factors to consider include the time between the original vasectomy and the vasectomy reversal, the type of vasectomy originally performed, and the surgeon who performs the reversal. Furthermore, what should be considered a “success” is evidence of responsive sperm—not simply the intended result of having a child.

    Myth: Couples should not try to conceive right after a vasectomy reversal for fear of a “leftover, defective sperm.”

    New sperm are constantly created and reabsorbed by the body, meaning they don’t stick around and “age” and grow defective. Immediately following a reversal, any “older” remaining sperm from pre-reversal that are still being broken down will quickly lose their motility and have little chance of meeting the egg. There is also no evidence to suggest that an early pregnancy following a vasectomy reversal is linked to higher risk of miscarriage, birth defects or health problems in babies.

    Myth: Some vasectomies are not reversible due to how they were originally performed.

    This is simply false. While there are different ways to perform a vasectomy, it is very rare for one to be irreversible in the hands of a skilled surgeon, regardless of how it was originally performed. However, it’s important to note that if the long segment of a patient’s vas deferens is cut away, or the position of the cut in the vas deferens is either too high or too low, then the reversal procedure and success rate could potentially be affected.

     

    Is a Vasectomy Reversal the Best Option for You? | Minnesota

    Vasectomy is a permanent sterilization surgical procedure. But at some point in the future, life circumstances may change:

    • Some couples may simply regret it.
    • Some couple may have a much different situations in their health or finance now.
    • With a 50% divorce rate in the US, a new partner may have a much stronger desire for children than his ex-partner does.

    When this happens, you and your partner will need to look at the options available and decide whether a vasectomy reversal is the best option for you. These options include vasectomy reversal, in vitro fertilization, donor sperms, and adoption.

    If you’re considering a vasectomy reversal, you need to know several important factors that affect the success rate.

    Years after vasectomy
    The single most important factor in whether a vasectomy reversal procedure will be successful is the interval in time (years) between vasectomy and vasectomy reversal. Studies have consistently shown that vasectomy reversal procedures have a higher rate of success when the procedure is performed closer to the date of vasectomy. Theoretically, the sperm recovery rate drops two percent every year after vasectomy. This is because the likelihood of obstruction due to scar formation in the epididymis increases—especially after 7-10 years. Additionally, the anti-sperm antibodies in man’s body may limit or reduce sperm production.

    Type of reversal procedure
    There are two types of reversal procedures—vasovasostomy (VV) and vasoepididymostomy (VE). The aim of VV is to reconnect the vas where it was severed at the time of vasectomy, whereas during a vasoepididymostomy the surgeon connects the severed end of the vas deferens directly to the epdidymis (the tube attached to the testicle where sperm mature). A VE is more complex and technically demanding than a VV, and it a lower rate of success than vasovasostomy.

    Experience matters
    The vasectomy reversal procedures are usually conducted by urologists and other surgeons. You need to check surgeons’ credentials. Besides basic medical credentials, the most important questions you need to ask are:

    • How many vasectomy reversal does the doctor performs every year?
    • How many years has the doctor been performing vasectomy reversal?
    • Are the minimal invasive procedure with no scalpel and no needle techniques?
    • What are the failure rate and the complication rate?

    Cost
    Most vasectomy reversal clinics charge expensive facility and anesthesia fees. If you are one of the few for whom vasectomy reversal does not succeed, it will be difficult enough, without a $7000-$10,000 bill!

    One Stop Medical Center provides premium reversal services with affordable price by not charging any facility and anesthesia fees.

    Reversal tends to be the least expensive choice, but the costs of IVF and other Assistive reproductive technologies (ARTs) could be much higher than that of vasovasostomy, and IVF may require several cycles before conception is achieved and has a lower overall success rate.

    ARTs may be a better alternative if vasectomy reversal is not a viable option, or if you don’t want to undergo a second surgery, or your reversal procedure fails.

    Age
    Although age is not the main factor for considering a vasectomy reversal , but a woman’s fertility begins to decline more sharply after age 35.

    Understanding of the Risks, Complications, and Side Effects Related to Vasectomy Reversal Procedures

    Similar to Easy Vasectomy, the complications from Easy Vasectomy Reversal are rare because of minimal invasive approach, but any surgery carries some degree of risk. Vasectomy reversal is much longer and more complicated microsurgery than a vasectomy, it has a greater chance of side effects.

    Most common vasectomy reversal complications include bleeding and infection following the procedure.

    Anesthesia: Dr. Shu performs the vasectomy reversal under local anesthesia which avoids the risks and complications from general anesthesia. If it is performed under the intravenous sedation or general anesthesia, patients must be cleared medically prior to the surgery. Anesthesia-related complications include reaction to the anesthetic medications, breath diffculty, and cardiac problem.

    Postoperative pain: The patients usually have mild or moderate pain for a few days after surgery. The pain can be managed with prescription narcotics or over-the-counter pain medications. The patients should avoid anti-inflammatory pain relievers (such as ibuprofen and aspirin) for the first 48 hours after the surgery to reduce the risk of bleeding, but Tylenol is fine to use. A small number of men experience long-term pain (more than three months) in the area of the scrotum or testicles after a reversal.

    Hematoma (collection of blood): Bleeding under the skin that may cause scrotum area to look bruised, and bruise shows commonly in a few days after surgery, but pooled blood can be occasionally caused by bleeding in the surgery site inside the scrotum. The patients should report any unusual scrotal swelling and bruise to the surgeon.

    Infections: Infection after vasectomy reversal is not common, and it occurs more common when there is a hematoma beneath the skin. Infection occurs in the wound or inside scrotum, can be treated with hematoma evacuation (I&D drainage) and antibiotics.

    Hydrocele (Fluid Collection): Fluid can build up inside scrotum and cause swelling. This may resolve on its own, but may sometimes need to be drained with a needle. Check with a doctor if there is any unusual swelling.

    Sperm granuloma: If sperms leak into the scrotum, the immune system can react to the sperm. The local tissue gradually forms an inflamed mass. It is much more common with vasectomy than vasectomy reversal. If it happens, it indicates that the vasectomy reversal is probably not successful.

    Testicular atrophy: Testicular atrophy occurs when the blood supply of the testicle was injured, which results in permanent damage to that testicle. This can lead to scarring and dysfunction of testicle with diminished sperm and testosterone production. In general, the other testicle produces enough sperm and testosterone to compensate.

    Low sperm count: After a vasectomy reversal, the initial sperm count might be lower than that before vasectomy. This may be caused by many factors such as scar tissue blocking the sperm in the connecting sites, or the reaction of the body’s immune system to the presence of sperm, or epididymal dysfuction.

    Sexual difficulties: There is no physiological reason that a vasectomy or a vasectomy reversal should affect the patient’s sex drive, or their ability to have sex or an erection, but these procedures can occasionally cause significant psychological and emotional response in some men.

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