What is a vasectomy?
A vasectomy is a procedure performed in the office that makes a man unable to get a woman pregnant. It is a permanent form of birth control so you should be certain you do not want to father any more children before having a vasectomy. It involves cutting the 2 tubes called the vas deferens that carry sperm from the testicles so that the sperm can no longer get into the semen. After vasectomy, men still produce male hormones and sperm. The sperm that are not released are absorbed by the body. The amount of semen with ejaculation is essentially the same, it is just sperm free. Sexual desire, function and sensation are the same following vasectomy.
How is it done?
Vasectomy is performed in the office in about a half hour. We will give you medicine prior to the procedure to relax you. A local anesthetic is used to numb the skin. Then a special instrument is used to make a very small hole to pull part of the vas deferens out on each side. Then a small segment is removed and ends sealed. The hole is so small, there are no stitches.
How effective is vasectomy in preventing pregnancy?
Vasectomy may the safest, most effective form of birth control. It is 99.9% effective. Only about 15 out of 10,000 couples get pregnant in the first year after vasectomy. Vasectomy cannot be relied on for birth control until sperm free semen is found. This is typically after 15-20 ejaculations. Until cleared, another form of birth control MUST be used to avoid pregnancy.
What to expect after the procedure?
You may have some soreness that Tylenol or ibuprofen should cover. You can expect local bruising that is harmless. You should rest for 2-3 days after vasectomy and can return to a desk type job after a couple of days. You should do no heavy lifting or strenuous work for 1 week following vasectomy. You can resume sexual activity after 5 days or when comfortable.
What are the risks of vasectomy?
The risk of complications after a vasectomy is very low. Complications may include:
Bleeding under the skin that may cause swelling or bruising.
Infection at the site of incision. In rare instances, an infection develops inside the scrotum.
Sperm leaking from the vas deferens into the tissue around it forming a small lump (sperm granuloma). This is usually mild and be treated with rest and pain medicine. Occasionally surgery may be needed to remove the granuloma.
Inflamation of the tubes that move sperm from the testicles (congestive epididymitis)
In rare cases, the vas deferens grow back together and man becomes fertile again.
Any health consequences to vasectomy?
No. Based on the weight of available evidence, studies have not shown any association with prostate cancer, heart disease or other health effects.
Advantages of Vasectomy
Vasectomy is permanent, removing concern of undesired pregnancy and the use other forms of birth control.
Vasectomy is a safer, less expensive procedure that causes fewer complications than tubal ligation in women.
The onetime cost of vasectomy is most likely less expensive than non permanent forms of birth control over time and is usually covered by health insurance as well.
Disadvantages of Vasectomy
Does not protect against sexually transmitted diseases.