What is a vasectomy? In the broadest of terms, it is a surgical procedure to prevent the possibility of insemination. The end result is male sterilization, or the inability to conceive future children.
How is this accomplished? By severing the tubes, called the vas deferens, in your scrotum that carry sperm. Once this tube is cut, your semen will no longer carry sperm, so it won’t cause pregnancy. You’ll still have the same amount of semen you did before - there just won’t be any sperm in it. A vasectomy does not cut your risks of contracting sexual diseases.
It must be noted that vasectomies are not 100% effective. Pregnancy may and have occurred in many cases. However, it remains one of the most highly effective methods of birth control today.
Why undergo a vasectomy? Choosing this type of birth control may be a good fit for you if you are an adult man in a stable relationship in which both partners agree to have permanent birth control. You may also choose to undergo this procedure if you do not want to pass down genetic diseases to a potential child.
Vasectomies are also much more cost-effective and less invasive than tubal ligation - the female counterpart to this surgical procedure.
A vasectomy is not a good fit for you if you have reservations about changing your mind in the future. While this procedure is considered permanent, it can be reversed. Reversal does not guarantee pregnancy.
Risks of Surgery
You may need to take antibiotics before surgery. Routine blood work is usually not needed but may be ordered prior to surgery based on the patient's age and the presence of any existing medical problems.
Before your surgery, a nurse or doctor will plan the site, clean the affected area, and consult with you for any questions you may have. Local anesthesia will then be administered under the supervision of your doctor.
The procedure itself may take ten minutes to half an hour to perform, depending on the complexity of the patient's condition. Typically, your doctor will give you a heads up on how long the procedure should last.
Your doctor will make a small incision in the upper part of your scrotum once the local anesthesia has taken effect. They will then locate the vas deferens, withdraw it through the incision, and then seal it using a combination of methods (cauterization, surgical clips, etc.). Once this is completed, the vas deferens is returned inside the scrotum, and the insicion is closed using stitches or surgical glue.
Recovery time for a vasectom will vary, but you should feel back to normal within a few weeks. Residual pain may last up to a week after surgery. Be sure to keep the incision area clean and dry to avoid the possibility of infection. Itchiness or soreness is common, however let your doctor know if you experience swelling or excessive pain.
You will need to arrange for a ride home the day of your surgery and we recommend someone stay with you for the first 24 hours at home. When you leave the facility after surgery, we will want you to go home and rest. Avoid making any other plans on the day of your surgery. Starting the following day, you can increase your activity as you feel up to it.
You will likely be given a prescription for pain medication following your surgery. The recovery nurse will discuss a pain control plan following surgery specific to you and your needs including activities like ice applied over incisions and a medication regimen. Oftentimes we will recommend taking Tylenol and Advil (same as Motrin, Ibuprofen) or Aleve in addition to the narcotic pain medication.
Did you know we have a support group?
Your questions and concerns have most likely been asked and answered in our support group. Moderated by our dietitian's, nurses, and staff. We provide you with reliable patient education and resources to help you throughout this life-changing process.