A vasectomy is a surgical procedure which involves cutting the tubes that carry sperm from the testes to the urethra. This blocks sperm from reaching the semen that is ejaculated from the penis. After a vasectomy, the testicles still make sperm, but the body absorbs them. While some practitioners perform vasectomies under local anaesthesia, Dr Beattie performs them exclusively under general anaesthetic.
The choice to have a vasectomy is a very personal one. It is advised you talk with your partner and think about what is best for you and your family, prior to consultation with us.
Vasectomy is a permanent method of birth control. You should not have a vasectomy if you may want to father children in the future. While it is possible to have a vasectomy reversed, this is more complex and costly procedure and reversing or “undoing” a vasectomy does not always result in pregnancy.
A vasectomy is not effective from day one. Sperm may still be in the semen for many months after a vasectomy. Having a semen analysis after your vasectomy is the only way to confirm this. We will arrange to test your semen three months after your surgery. Until this is reviewed, and you are advised otherwise by us, you must use contraception if you wish to avoid a pregnancy.
What are the Risks? #
About one to two percent of men may have ongoing pain or discomfort after a vasectomy. The pain is most often treated with anti-inflammatory drugs, like ibuprofen. Exact causes of pain are not known, but in some rare cases, additional medical or surgical treatment may be needed.
Other risks after a vasectomy are very low, but may include:
- Bleeding under the skin, or a haematoma, which may cause swelling and bruising of the scrotum
- Infection at the site of the cut, or more rarely inside the scrotum
- A small lump caused by sperm leaking from a vas deferens into nearby tissue. This is usually not painful, but if it is, it can be treated with rest and pain medicine. Sometimes, surgery may be needed to remove the lump, which is called a “sperm granuloma.”
- In extremely rare cases, the vas deferens may grow back together, what we call ‘late failure’, which would allow the man to have children again
Studies show men who have had a vasectomy are not at a higher risk for any other medical conditions such as heart disease, prostate cancer, testicular cancer, or other health problems
When Can I Resume Normal Activities? #
You may be able to go back to work in one or two days if you do deskwork. Men with more activity and heavy lifting at work may need more time off, as you should avoid heavy lifting for a week.