We understand that many questions come to mind when considering a vasectomy. We have tried to field the most common and provide an answer for each.
Will I feel any pain during or after the vasectomy?
Yes, only minimal. At the time of administering local anesthesia, you might feel a slight momentary pinch, then almost instantaneous numbness. During the procedure, there is a chance you might feel mild pressure or tugging. In the rare case that you feel more than that, your doctor can simply inject the additional local anesthetic with instant relief. Once the local anesthesia wears off, approximately 4 hours later, you may feel a little discomfort. However, this is ample time for you to arrive at home and take some Tylenol®. Make sure to apply the ice pack intermittently but frequently over the next 24-48 hours.
How long does the procedure take, and can I drive myself?
Yes, you may drive yourself to and from the procedure as most of our patients do. The procedure usually takes 20 minutes, but we block out a 30 minute time slot.
Will I be sterile immediately after the vasectomy?
No. It requires several ejaculations once you resume sex (one week after the procedure) to vacate sperm from the ducts beyond the point of interruption. We recommend discontinuing previous method of birth control after our office has tested your semen and verified no sperm is present. The first semen analysis is commonly 3 months after the procedure, and we require two negative semen checks to confirm sterilization.
Will vasectomy affect my sexual function?
No. A Vasectomy only interrupts the sperm flow from the testicles. The nerves to erection and ejaculation are not involved and the fluid volume of ejaculation remains the same. The testicles continue to produce sperm and Testosterone (the major male sex hormone). The sperm behind the vasectomy are reabsorbed locally in the epididymis ducts. The testosterone level, which affects your sex drive, will remain the same.
Are there any side effects or complications?
A vasectomy is a low risk procedure; however, complications such as delayed bleeding (hematoma), infection or failure of sterilization may occur. The estimated incidence of a post vasectomy hematoma is 1%. This risk is minimized by the discontinuation of blood thinning medication at least one week prior to your procedure, and by decreased activity plus scrotal ice packs for the first 24-48 hours. Minor infections occur in 1 of 100 cases, and they are easily treated with antibiotics and wound care measures. Sterilization failure occurs in only 2 of 1,000 cases. This should be diagnosed by routine semen tests to verify sterilization after your procedure. Lastly, you may develop a small area of firmness at the sealed end of the testicle side of the vasectomy. This area is called a sperm granuloma because it is a reaction to a small amount of sperm leaking from the sealed end of the vas. This is a self-limiting process, but it may require further medication treatment by the doctor if you are the rare person who has discomfort from the granuloma.
Are there any long term health problems due to vasectomy?
In rare reports, medical journals have suggested possible links between vasectomy and heart disease or prostate cancer. Follow up studies to each of these reports have NOT shown a relationship between vasectomy and any other long term health risks. In fact, one study shows that men who have had a vasectomy tend to live longer than men who have not had a vasectomy!
Can I freeze my sperm prior to vasectomy?
Yes. Some doctors can assist you with that, in addition to your vasectomy procedure. For example, Dr. Buch of Legacy Male Health, is the director for a full-service certified sperm testing laboratory, the North Texas Male Infertility Center (NTMIC). They offer that service on-site. Call the doctor you’ve chosen for details and current costs.
Is my vasectomy reversible?
Yes. Previously, a vasectomy has been considered a permanent form of birth control. However, they are reversible by means of vasectomy reversal.
Is one type of vasectomy more reversible than another?
Usually open ended vasectomy is a more reversible vasectomy. It’s best to discuss these specifics in person with the doctor you’ve chosen to perform your vasectomy.