A vasectomy is a procedure used to essentially work as male birth control.
It cuts off the sperm supply so that it does not get into the semen. The small tubes that carry the sperm are cut and sealed during the process. This procedure is performed to prevent pregnancy. It is almost 100 percent effective.
- It is important to note that while it is effective for pregnancy prevention, it will not protect against sexually transmitted diseases.
- Men will still need to wear a condom or practice abstinence for this purpose.
The doctor will provide patients with full preparation instructions. In general, bathing the day of the procedure is recommended. Make sure that the genital area is cleaned carefully. Men who take medications that can thin the blood might require a dose adjustment or they may need to abstain temporarily prior to the surgery.
In most cases, this surgery is done using local anesthesia that will numb the scrotum to ensure patient comfort. Once the patient is numbed, the doctor will make a small cut into the upper scrotal area. In some cases, a puncture is used instead of an incision. After locating the vans deferens, part of it is removed via the puncture or incision. It is then cut and sealed by either cauterizing it, tying it, or applying surgical clips. Some doctors use more than one of these methods. The ends of the vans deferens are then returned to the scrotum. The incision is then closed. Doctors may use glue or stitches for this. In some cases, the wound is not closed, but allowed to heal and close over time.
Most men will be able to go home shortly after the procedure. Some swelling, pain, and bruising is not uncommon after a vasectomy. Within a few days, it usually resolves without intervention. Doctors will give patients full discharge instructions to ensure that they heal. These generally include:
- Using ice to alleviate discomfort
- Limiting activity for up to three days
- Refraining from sexual activity for approximately seven days
- Keeping the incision site clean and dry
- Changing bandages as instructed by the doctor
- For 48 hours, men are usually instructed to wear tight-fitting underwear
This is a relatively safe procedure. Most men recover without issue. However, it is important to know what the possible risks are so that patients can be prepared. These include:
- Scrotal blood clot or bleeding
- Mild discomfort or pain
- Blood in the semen
- Surgery site infection
While uncommon, there are certain delayed complications that patients should know about, including:
- Chronic pain
- Abnormal cyst on the epididymis
- Testicular fluid buildup
- Pregnancy due to failed vasectomy (this is considered to be very rare)
- Hydrocele causing scrotal swelling
Before men opt to have a vasectomy, it is important that they are sure they no longer want to father children. However, reversal surgery does exist.