What is a Vasectomy?
Vasectomy is a minor surgical procedure and a form of male birth control. It is a frequently chosen option for many men who no longer want to be involved with future pregnancies.
In a vasectomy procedure, the vas deferens, or thin tubes that transport sperm from the testicles, are cut and sealed so sperm can no longer be carried into the ejaculate.
What are the Types of Vasectomy?
There are two types of vasectomy: conventional and minimally-invasive. Minimally-invasive vasectomy is sometimes referred to as a “no scalpel” vasectomy. Regardless, of technique, there is always an opening in the scrotal skin made to isolate, cut, and seal the vas deferens. This opening is quite small and heals without scar or visible defect.
How Long Does the Procedure Take?
Your doctor will perform a vasectomy at a local surgery center and the procedure itself takes about 15 minutes. Plan for someone to give you a ride home as you will be sedated for your comfort and to decrease procedural complications.
How is the Procedure Performed?
A small incision is made in the scrotum spanning about 2mm in length. The vas deferens is then identified on both sides. A section of each vas deferens is removed, both ends of the vas are tied with suture, and an electric current is briefly used to seal both ends of the tube. Finally, the two ends of the vas are buried in separate tissue compartments inside the scrotum to prevent them from joining together again (recanalization).
Will My Sex Life Change After Vasectomy?
100% No! Vasectomy does not change erections, sexual desire, sexual performance, or testosterone levels. You will still make semen (also known as cum or ejaculate) but there will be no sperm that will lead to pregnancy. “All Juice No Seed” is the phrase to remember.
Should I Stop Any Medications Before Vasectomy?
Please make sure you let your doctor know all medications and supplements you are currently taking. As a general rule stop all supplements 5 days prior to your procedure especially fish oil and CoQ10. Definitely avoid aspirin and blood thinners – these can be restarted 3-5 days after your procedure if you are healing well.
What is the Recovery Process Like?
Expect some swelling, bruising, and minor pain in the scrotum for several days after the vasectomy. To ensure proper healing, refrain from heavy lifting, exercise, and sexual intercourse for one week after the procedure.
You will be provided with a jock strap after the procedure. It is helpful to use this as needed for the first week for comfort and support.
What are the Possible Complications?
Complications that can occur after a vasectomy include bleeding under the skin, infection at the site of incision, sperm granuloma formation, and chronic pain. These complications are fairly rare but should always be mentioned. In rare circumstances, the vas deferens can regrow and connect, a process called recanalization.
Pain can be present after vasectomy in up to 10% of patients initially, possibly due to back pressure from sperm buildup. This usually resolves after 4 weeks and can be managed with anti-inflammatory medications. It is rare but possible to have chronic pain after vasectomy that does not self-resolve. In these patients, a vasectomy reversal or cutting the nerves responsible in a small follow-up procedure may be indicated.
Am I Sterile Right After Vasectomy?
Definitely not. After a vasectomy, it usually takes several months for sterility to be confirmed. Alternative methods of birth control must be used until a semen sample test shows a zero sperm count.
You will receive a specimen cup and an order for post-vasectomy semen analysis to be done 3 months following your procedure. It is recommended you ejaculate about 30 times prior to submitting your sample. Of course, wait one week after the procedure before starting this “homework”.
What are the Advantages of a Vasectomy?
- Safe and effective: it is nearly 100% in preventing pregnancy
- Quick, outpatient surgery with a low risk of complication
- Vasectomy carries far less risk of complications compared with female sterilization, also known as a bilateral tubal ligation
- You will not need to worry about your partner taking birth control steps
Does Vasectomy Prevent Sexually Transmitted Disease (STD)?
No. Condoms are still recommended to prevent spread of disease.