What is Vasectomy Surgery?
A vasectomy is a surgical procedure that serves as birth control by permanently cutting off the flow of sperm to the penis.
Male Reproductive System
Testicles are found in the scrotum – which is the pouch of loose skin below the penis. The sperm mature in the epididymis, a small structure that is on top of each testicle.
During sexual intercourse, the sperm move with ejaculation during orgasm, through long muscular tubes called the vas deferens to the penis.
On the way to the penis, the sperm mix with a whitish fluid called seminal fluid, this is made by the seminal vesicles.
The mixture of sperm and seminal fluid is called semen. Semen is released by the penis with ejaculation
Vasectomy is a simple, safe procedure that makes a man sterile, unable to father a child by cutting and sealing the vas deferens tubes.
- It is permanent and intended to last forever.
- It is the most effective birth control method there is.
- No other birth control prevents pregnancy as well except abstinence, which means no sex.
It does not protect against sexually transmitted disease
- Vasectomy should not lower your libido, which is your desire to have sex.
- Your erection, sexual function, and orgasm should not change.
- In fact, some men are more relaxed because they are not worried about the risk of getting a woman pregnant.
- The amount and color of your semen will seem the same as before.
- Finally, urination, the way you pass urine will be the same.
Sperm that are still produced but are now blocked, are absorbed or taken up by the body.
You or your partner must use a second type of birth control for the first 3 months after your vasectomy because you will not be sterile right away.
It takes time and several ejaculations to empty the sperm from the tubes. There is risk of pregnancy until your semen is tested at 3 months and show no more sperm.
You will collect the semen sample for testing.
How to reverse a vasectomy without surgery?
Vasectomy is intended to be permanent, and it is not always possible to reverse a vasectomy.
Surgery to stitch the tubes back together is not easy and doesn’t always work.
Vasectomy Reversal is very expensive and is not usually covered by insurance.
Before your vasectomy consider the possible situations where you might wish to have more children.
Although vasectomy is considered very safe, all surgeries have risks. All men will have some soreness and bruising for a few days.
Risks of Vasectomy
- infection and bleeding of the scrotum.
- You may get a “sperm granuloma,” a small harmless lump where the tube was tied.
- You may also regret the vasectomy.
- Up to 1 in 5 men or 20% change their mind later in life
To prevent these problems follow your doctor’s instructions carefully.
Less Common Risks of Vasectomy
- 1 of 1,600 men will still have sperm at 3 months because the tubes reconnect by recanalization
- There is a risk of chronic pain near the testicles.
- While most men feel “back to normal” after 7-10 days, for 1 in 400 men pain can last several weeks or longer. It can even be permanent.
- Sometimes another procedure, even a vasectomy reversal is needed to fix the pain.
- Finally, a few studies have shown there may be a small increased risk of prostate cancer.
There are other studies that do not show this. Most urologists believe that vasectomy does not cause prostate cancer.
Be sure to discuss these risks with your doctor if you have any questions or concerns.
You can help lower risk of the procedure
- Follow care instructions before and after the procedure
- Use condoms or another type of birth control until a semen test shows that all of the sperm are gone, usually at 3 months
What is the procedure for a vasectomy?
To begin the vasectomy, your scrotum will be cleaned with antiseptic. Your surgeon will numb the scrotum with an injection of local anesthetic. You will feel a sting and burn that lasts only a few seconds.
A classic way for a surgeon to do a vasectomy is to make two small incisions, one cut over each vas deferens tube. Next, the tubes are cut, and then tied, clipped or sealed. And the incisions are closed.
Surgeons now commonly use one small opening to tie both tubes, this is called the non-scalpel method.
For this type of vasectomy, the surgeon makes one small opening to reach both tubes.
First, one vas deferens is gently lifted through the opening. You may feel some pulling and discomfort but it should not be painful. The tube is sealed with ties, clips or heat. And the tube is cut.
The surgeon then lifts the other tube and repeats the sealing and cutting. Sometimes a second hole is needed to reach the other tube. The opening may or may not need a stitch to close
Recovery Time for Vasectomy Surgery
You may have some bloody drainage from where the tubes were tied.
And you will have some discomfort that you can manage with ice, rest and medication
Help your pain and swelling by using an ice pack wrapped in a towel on your lap or under your scrotum.
Do not put the ice directly against your skin. You may use acetaminophen, Ibuprofen or other pain medication as recommended by your physician.
You can help avoid problems by following your doctor’s instructions
The first 2 days
- Rest as much as possible.
- Keep your scrotum lifted
- Lying down on the sofa or bed and
- Wearing an athletic supporter or snug cotton underwear
- And keep the area dry for 2 days
- Continue to take it easy and use support as you heal
For 7 days after the procedure
- do not have sex, swim or use a hot tub and
- Do not lift heavy objects or exercise
Finally- Call your doctor if you experience fever, worsening pain not relieved by ice and the medication prescribed
And remember to use a second form of birth control such as condoms, until your lab test shows that all of your sperm have cleared, for about 3 months.
It is your job to speak up and ask your surgeon if you still have questions about why this surgery is being recommended for you, the risks and alternatives.
This video is intended as a tool to help you to better understand the procedure that you are scheduled to have or are considering. It is not intended to replace any discussion, decision making or advice of your physician.