Build it Once, Build it Right

I just got the photo of the newest little one. And the warm thank you note along with it. Makes me feel that just maybe, my work on this good earth makes a difference.

What’s special about this birth announcement is that it is the third baby after the vasectomy reversal. Now that’s value! And the stuff of great Holiday cards.

Details, Details

My Father taught me to do things once and to do them right. “Don’t nickel and dime people.” In my craft of microsurgery, you can do average work, good work or great work. One measure of a great vasectomy reversal is whether it works or not and whether babies are born. Another measure is durability–whether several babies are born.

A vasectomy reversal is a highly technical procedure, one in which, in the words of the architect Mies van der Rohe, “God is in the details.” Basically, we reconnect a tube the size of cooked spaghetti with a hole in it. The procedure can fail early on simply due to scar tissue that blocks the tiny opening in the middle. That means after 3 hours of surgery and a sexless several weeks of recovery, the sperm count arrives in the ejaculate to great applause, and then…just as quickly… disappears, well before a pregnancy is possible. This devastating complication typically occurs within 4-6 months of the procedure and sends everyone involved right back to square one—sterility.

Deep Smarts

How is this avoided? Well, begin by choosing your surgeon wisely. Look for expertise. But what makes an expert an expert? Accreditation-sure; Knowledge-sure. Experience-sure. Such factors are keys elements of “deep smarts.” But there is more to it. Expertise is also marked by an attitude, a drive, to constantly improve. What can I do differently? How can I do better?  In the words of Malcolm Gladwell, “the most successful performers improvise.” In my field, improvising means improving and that means building entire families in single micro-surgical swoop.

Dr. Paul Turek, Medical Contributor

View posts by Dr. Paul Turek, Medical Contributor
Dr. Paul Turek is an internationally known thought leader in men’s reproductive and sexual health care and research. A fellowship trained, board-certified physician by the American Board of Urology (ABU), he has received numerous honors and awards for his work and is an active member in professional associations worldwide. His recent lectures, publications and book titles can be found in his curriculum vitae.
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