What You Should Know About Vasectomy
By Dr. A. Keith Levinson, M.D.
Deciding to have a vasectomy is a big decision, so Georgia Urology wants to make sure you have all the education you need to make an informed choice. Keep reading below to discover what you should know about vasectomy.
What Is a Vasectomy?
Vasectomy is the most common surgical procedure performed by urologists. Over 500,000 vasectomies are performed per year in the United States. It is a safe and simple procedure that renders a man sterile, and recovery is quick.
Safe, Eﬀective Birth Control
Vasectomy is one of the most cost eﬀective methods of contraception. It is equally as eﬀective as tubal ligation in preventing pregnancy and is simpler, faster, and less expensive. It can be done under local anesthesia in a physician’s oﬃce as opposed to tubal ligation, which is done under general anesthesia in the hospital.
How Does a Vasectomy Work?
Most urologists perform a no-scalpel vasectomy. One or two small puncture wounds are made in the scrotum. Each vas deferens is then lifted through a puncture site, divided and sealed by heat (cauterized). They may also be tied or clipped. The procedure generally takes up to 30 minutes.
What to Consider Before a Vasectomy
If you’re considering a vasectomy, here are some facts and statistics worth thinking about:
- Vasectomy is a permanent form of contraception. If a man changes his mind after a vasectomy, later options for fertility including vasectomy reversal and sperm retrieval with in vitro fertilization are not always successful and may be expensive. You can consider freezing your sperm before a vasectomy, but cryopreservation may be expensive and uncertain as well.
- Vasectomy does not produce immediate sterility. Following vasectomy, another form of contraception must be used until a post-vasectomy semen analysis is confirmed to show no sperm
- The risk of pregnancy after vasectomy is 1 in 200 for men who have no sperm seen on follow up semen analysis
- The rates of surgical complications such as symptomatic infection or hematoma (bleeding) are 1-2%.
- There is no long-term change in sex drive, sexual function, or volume of semen after the procedure.
- Chronic scrotal pain after vasectomy may be seen in 1-2% of men. Few of these men will require additional surgery.
- Vasectomy is not a risk factor for other medical issues including prostate cancer, heart disease, or dementia.
After the Procedure
As mentioned above, recovery is usually painless when it comes to receiving a vasectomy. Here’s what you might experience:
- Post-procedure pain is often mild. Over-the-counter pain medicine is usually adequate.
- Stay oﬀ your feet and much as possible the first day. An ice pack can help reduce swelling.
- Call your doctor if you have increased scrotal pain, redness, or swelling.
If you have any more questions after reading about what you should know about vasectomy, schedule an appointment with any of our expert urologists.