What is a vasectomy?
A vasectomy is a permanent method of male contraception. It involves cutting both the tubes (vas deferens) that carry sperm from your testicles. This prevents sperm from mixing with semen and reaching your penis. So, a vasectomy should prevent your partner from becoming pregnant.
What are the benefits of surgery?
You or your partner should not need to use another method of contraception.
Are there any alternatives to surgery?
The only other method of male contraception is to use a condom, but the risk of failure is higher. A sterilisation is a permanent method of female contraception.
There are non-permanent methods of female contraception.
- Hormone implants.
- A coil or intrauterine contraceptive device.
- Oral contraceptive pill.
What does the procedure involve?
The operation is performed under a local or general anaesthetic. The operation usually takes 15 to 20 minutes.
To start, your surgeon will usually make one small cut on each side of your scrotum. Sometimes they will make a single cut on the middle of your scrotum. Then your surgeon will cut the tubes that carry sperm from each testicle to your penis and close the ends with stitches, clips or an electric current (cauterisation).
What complications can happen?
Like all surgical procedures, there are some levels of risks to consider. Some of these can be serious and can even cause death. However, you can speak to your doctor about the following general and specific complications that may worry you.
General complications of any operation
- Infection of the surgical site (wound) or in your scrotum
Specific complications of this operation
- Becoming fertile again
- Sperm granuloma
- Long-term pain in your testicles
- Congestive epididymitis
How soon will I recover?
You should be able to go home the same day. To reduce the risk of bleeding, do not ejaculate or do strenuous exercise, like running and riding a bicycle, for 5 to 7 days.
You should be able to return to work after about 2 days (about a week if your work involves strenuous exercise). With regular exercise should help you to return to normal activities as soon as possible. Before you start exercising, ask the healthcare team or your GP for advice.
Your doctor will ask you to give one or two samples of your semen after you have ejaculated 20 times following the operation. The samples will be tested to find out if there are any sperm left. Use another method of contraception until your doctor tells you that you are sperm-free.
A vasectomy is an operation to cut the tubes that carry sperm from your testicles. It is a permanent and effective method of male contraception. To find out more, call us on 0808 101 0337.
Author: Mr John Lemberger FRCS
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