While a vasectomy is a minor operation, the decision to have one is major—and highly personal. Of course the biggest determinate is making sure you do not want to have future children. While you could store frozen sperm or have your vasectomy reversed, these procedures are costly, may not be covered by insurance, and are not always successful. Another important consideration is that having a vasectomy is simpler, safer and more reliable than female sterilization.
About your vasectomy
During your vasectomy your urology specialist will cut, block and seal the vas deferens, the tube that carries sperm from your testicles to your penis so that there will be no sperm in the semen to fertilize a woman’s egg. Local anesthesia will be injected to numb the area and to eliminate any sharp pain. You’ll remain awake during the procedure. Your urology specialist will make one or two small cuts in the skin of the scrotum to access the vas deferens. The vas deferens is then cut and a small piece removed to create a short gap between the two remaining ends. Your urology specialist will then cauterize the ends and tie them with dissolvable sutures. The procedure is then repeated on the other side.
During a no-scalpel vasectomy, your urology specialist will feel for the vas under the scrotum and hold it in place with a small clamp. A tiny puncture will be made in the skin and the opening stretched so that the vas deferens can be lifted out, cut, tied or cauterized and then put back into place.
After your vasectomy
You’re advised to return home after your vasectomy and to avoid strenuous and sexual activity. You might experience swelling and discomfort, which can be minimized by using an icepack and by wearing a supportive undergarment, such as a jockstrap. You can expect to return to work 2-3 days after your vasectomy and to recover completely in less than a week. Sexual activity can be resumed within a week but contraceptive should be used. To make certain your vasectomy was successful, your semen will be analyzed to make certain no sperm are present. That analysis generally takes place 2-4 months, or 20 ejaculates, after your vasectomy.
Risks and complications of vasectomy
Again, after your vasectomy, discomfort should be minimal and should respond to mild analgesics. Bleeding into the scrotum is possible. You should consult your urology specialist if you experience:
- Significant increase in the size of your scrotum
- Severe discomfort in the scrotal area
- Scrotal redness or tenderness
Some patients complain of experiencing mild lower abdominal discomfort, similar to what you might experience if you were hit in the genitalia. A benign lump may develop because of sperm leaking from the cut end of the vas into the scrotal tissues. This may be painful or sensitive to the touch or pressure. Some men also experience chronic pain called “post-vasectomy pain syndrome.” This is generally treated with anti-inflammatory agents, but occasionally some men will undergo vasectomy reversal to alleviate this syndrome. While there is some debate that vasectomies predispose men to future health problems, there is no conclusive evidence to support this.
Request an Appointment
If you have made the important decision to have a vasectomy, please contact us at 319-338-3859 to make an appointment with the experts at Urological Associates of Iowa City, the best urology clinic in Johnson County.
Dr. James McCoy
Dr. Margaret Ekroth
Dr. Luke Brunkhorst
Dr. Eric Shreve