Opting to have a vasectomy done is a personal and safe choice.
When a man ejaculates, sperm is pulled from his testes into his penis. The tube that connects these structures is called the vas deferens. In a vasectomy, the vas deferens is closed off, meaning the sperm cannot reach the penis.
- Sperm is only about one percent of a man’s ejaculatory fluid.
- The man will continue to ejaculate and have orgasms after the procedure.
A vasectomy is a short procedure, usually taking 15 minutes or less and is performed with only local anesthetic. A non-incision vasectomy is usually preferred. A puncture incision is made with special forceps. The forceps are able to stretch the skin to allow the surgeon in to cut and tie off the vas deferens. This quicker procedure decreases the probability of postoperative bleeding and pain.
Preparing for a Vasectomy
Patients who are having a vasectomy are educated to perform the following preparations:
- Do not use medicines such as aspirin, ibuprofen, or warfarin for one week before surgery. These medicines can increase the risk of bleeding.
- Wash the scrotum thoroughly before surgery to prevent infection.
- Bring tight-fitting underwear or an athletic support to minimize swelling by supporting the scrotum.
Patients will have limited mobility following the procedure. You may be advised to try to take one to two days to rest with minimal movement. Discomfort may last for a few days. Painkillers and anti-inflammatory drugs may be prescribed for pain or swelling.
Other contraceptives should be used for around ten weeks following the surgery. Semen samples are taken six to twelve weeks post-operatively to ensure there is no sperm. If sperm is found, the procedure may not have been successful. If no sperm is found, the patient can move forward with unprotected intercourse.
Complications are rare after a vasectomy but include inflammation and pain. A condition called sperm granuloma is possible, where sperm congregates on the ends of the clipped vas deferens, causing a small nodule to form. This normally does not require additional treatments.
A vasectomy is considered less invasive than a woman having her tubes tied and may solve a couple’s desire to not have any more children. It will not cause a drop in testosterone, lack of ejaculation or orgasm, or increase the incidence of cancer. A urologist can discuss these and other concerns with any patient considering a vasectomy.