No Scalpel Vasectomy
- Pain Free
- Local Anesthetic
- 45-60 Minute Proceedure
- Quick Healing
Contraception is one of the most common topics discussed at the doctor’s office. It’s important to learn your options and the pros and cons of each to determine what’s right for you.
A good percentage of my patients know they no longer want any more children. In that case, there are two options for permanent sterilization: a tubal ligation for the female or a vasectomy for the male. And the risks/benefits of these two options are quite different. A tubal is done under general anaesthesia in the hospital, with a week-long recovery period.
A vasectomy is a quick office procedure with only a few days of recovery. Vasectomy is an efficient, low-risk method that is considered to be the most effective method of permanent contraception available.
Q: What is a Vasectomy exactly?
A vasectomy is a male sterilization procedure in which the “vas deferens” (the small tube that carries the sperm from the testes) is snipped. Hence in the term “vasectomy,” the “vas” refers to “vas deferens” and “-ectomy” means “to cut.” Sperm is no longer transported once this cut is made; however, semen is still ejaculated. If sperm is not present in semen, an ovulated egg can no longer be fertilized.
Vasectomies are performed using a needle to anesthetize the skin. Once this is done, the procedure should be pain free from then on. A small incision is made in the skin using a Dissector and the vas is brought through the skin. The vas is severed using “thermo-cautery,” which is a device with a heated metallic tip, rather than a sharp scalpel. A portion of the vas is removed and the remaining ends are then cauterised. This is repeated on the remaining side. The small opening is often closed by the following day.
Q: How long does the procedure and recovery take?
This is an office procedure that takes approximately 40-60 minutes to complete. There is typically some minor discomfort and swelling at the site for 2-3 days after the procedure, but most men are back to their baseline within a week. Tight fitting underwear is typically worn for the next 1-2 weeks and then only during exercise for one month. Alternate forms of contraception eg condoms are advised until a clear semen sample is obtained. You will be asked to produce this 16 weeks after the procedure is performed.
Q: What are the risks?
Large-scale studies show that the overall incidence of complications is less than 5 per 100 vasectomies performed. Some of the most common risks associated with the vasectomy are bruising, tenderness, swelling, infection, and bleeding. Some men (about 1 in 20) will experience swelling and a mild ache in one or both testes anywhere from 2 weeks to 6 months after the procedure. Overall incidence of either a hematoma (a blood clot in the scrotum) or infection is less than 2% of the vasectomies performed. Another risk is post-vasectomy pain syndrome, which is a rare condition that produces chronic testicular pain for greater than 3 months after having a vasectomy, and occurs in 1-2% of vasectomies. Sterilization failure rate is less than 1%, as well. However, most men do very well and the risks and complications from this technique are quite low.
Q: Will it affect sex drive?
There is absolutely no evidence that a vasectomy will change your libido or performance, affect your sex hormone levels, or cause erectile dysfunction.
Q: Is there an increased risk of Prostate or Testicular Cancer after having a Vasectomy?
Again, large scale studies have shown no increased risk of testicular or prostate cancer after having a Vasectomy
Q: Is it reversible?
You should consider a vasectomy to be permanent and non-reversible. There are surgical procedures to help reverse a vasectomy, but the success is variable and not guaranteed. Vasectomy reversal is a three-hour surgery that results in return of sperm to the semen about 85% of the time. Success rates decrease with time after vasectomy. If you are going to consider a vasectomy, it’s best to assume that it’s a permanent change. Do not get a vasectomy if you have any doubts whatsoever.