A vasectomy is a permanent form of male birth control. During the procedure, the supply of sperm to semen is prevented by cutting and sealing the tubes (vas deferens) that transport sperm. The surgery typically takes about 20 to 30 minutes, and is performed using a local anesthetic.
A vasectomy is a great birth control solution for men who are certain they do not want to father any children. It is nearly 100% effective at preventing pregnancy, and is less expense than tubal ligation.
A vasectomy does not decrease sex drive or masculinity in any way, and there's very little risk that sexual organs will be injured during surgery. There's also no proof that a vasectomy could cause prostate or testicular cancer or heart problems.
Serious complications are rare. Possible side effects following surgery include swelling, pain and bruising, which should get better within a few days. Severe pain at the surgery site during and after the procedure is rare. Your urologist will discuss other possible side effects with you prior to treatment.
Following surgery, you must wear tight fitting underwear, which along with a bandage will help support your scrotum. The scrotum is the bag of skin behind the penis that contains the testicles, and other structures that create, store and carry sperm and male sex hormones.
You'll need to rest for 24 hours. Light physical activities are okay after two to three days, but avoid heavy work, lifting and sports for at least a week. Apply an ice pack to the scrotum periodically, one to three days after surgery. This will reduce pain and swelling. Avoid taking blood-thinning medicines for three to seven days after surgery, and do not bath or swim for a few days.
Most importantly, do not have sexual intercourse until your doctor tells you it is okay, unless you utilize another form of birth control. It typically takes several weeks before sperm are no longer present in semen. If you notice signs of infection, such as fever, severe pain or swelling, contact your doctor immediately.
During a vasectomy reversal, the tubes that transport sperm from the testicles into semen is re-connected. If the surgery is successful, you'll be able to father children. While this procedure works for most men, for some it is not successful. The surgery can be performed several years after the original vasectomy, however; in this case, it is less likely to be successful.
Vasectomy reversals are typically performed using general anesthesia or a local or spinal anesthetic. An epidural may be administered instead.
Prior to the surgery, your urologist will perform a physical exam and speak with you about any health concerns. He or she will confirm that you can produce healthy sperm by doing a testicular biopsy. If you've fathered a child in the past, the biopsy will not be necessary. Lastly, your doctor will want to assess whether your partner can have children, especially if they are over 35 or have never conceived.
Vasectomy reversals are more complex than vasectomies, and can be expensive.
Complications are rare and include:
- Infection at the surgery site
- Bleeding within the scrotum
- Chronic scrotum pain
Following surgery, If you experience fever, find it hard to urinate, notice a marble-sized lump developing in the scrotum, swelling that does not get better, or bleeding at the surgery site, contact your urologist immediately.
After surgery, you'll have to wear a jock strap for several weeks to decrease movement and swelling. Placing an ice pack on the scrotum occasionally will also help reduce swelling. You may experience soreness for several days, and any bruising will go away within two weeks.
Avoid bathing or swimming for the first two days after surgery. Do not play sports or lift heavy objects for at least three weeks. You should be able to go back to work within a few days if you have a desk job. If your job is more strenuous physically, consult your doctor about when you should return to work. Do not have sexual intercourse for at least two to four weeks after surgery.
After about six weeks, your urologist will examine your semen under a microscope to see if the vasectomy reversal was successful.
If the vasectomy reversal was not successful the first time, some men have the surgery again.