A vasectomy is a surgical procedure that is nearly 100% effective at preventing pregnancy. If you're thinking about having a vasectomy, check out these answers to questions our patients frequently ask about the procedure.
What happens during a vasectomy?
A vasectomy works by preventing sperm from getting into the semen that a man produces when he ejaculates. During a vasectomy, your medical team will numb the scrotum and give you medicine to help you relax. Then they will make an opening in your scrotum so they can reach the vas deferens—the tubes that carry sperm from the testes. They will snip the vas deferens, and then tie off, block, or cauterize the ends so that sperm can no longer get through. Sometimes the surgeon will stitch the opening in the scrotum closed; other times the small opening will be allowed to close on its own. The surgery takes from 10 to 30 minutes.
What is the recovery period like?
You will be able to go home the same day as the surgery, although you should not drive yourself home.
You can expect some pain, bruising and swelling for a few days, but it shouldn’t be severe. Your medical team will give you medicine for the pain. You may be able to go to work within a couple of days, but you should avoid sports and hard physical labor for a week.
You’ll probably be able to have sex again within a few days to a week—but we sure to use contraception. It can take three months or more for your semen to be free of sperm. Your doctor will want to test a semen sample before you abandon your other methods of birth control.
What are some of the side effects or risks?
Vasectomy is a safe procedure, but any surgery carries some risks, such as the possibility of infection. Please make sure your medical team goes over all the risks and that you understand them. Make sure you call your doctor if, after the procedure, you have severe pain or swelling, a high fever, or bleeding or discharge near the incision site.
Will a vasectomy affect my sex life?
A vasectomy won’t affect your hormones, so it shouldn’t affect your sex drive. You will still ejaculate semen as before; it just won’t contain sperm. In fact, a vasectomy may improve your sex life if your previous birth control method was a hassle for you or your partner.
Who should not have a vasectomy?
Men who are not absolutely certainthat they don’t want to have children (or more children) should not have a vasectomy. Although surgeons can reverse vasectomies, the reversal procedure is expensive and doesn’t always work.
So before deciding, think not only about your present situation but about future possibilities. If you and your current partner were to split up—or your partner died—would a future partner want to have children? If you were to lose a child, would you want to try again?
What are the advantages of vasectomy?
Vasectomy is a safe and effective method of birth control that allows men to take the burden of family planning off their partner. It’s often covered by insurance, and even if it’s not, it can be less expensive than the cost of other methods of birth control if the costs are added up over years.
If you have questions about whether a vasectomy is right for you, the staff at Affiliated Urologists are happy to talk with you.
Affiliated Urologists is an award-winning practice recognized both locally and nationally that has provided service to patients in Phoenix, Scottsdale, and surrounding communities in the Valley, for over 40 years. The physicians emphasize top-of-the-line comprehensive urological care and strive to deliver the highest outcomes for patient satisfaction. To make an appointment, call 602-264-0608 or contact us for instructions on scheduling an appointment.
The advice and information contained in this article is for educational purposes only, and is not intended to replace or counter a physician’s advice or judgment. Please always consult your physician before taking any advice learned here or in any other educational medical material.