A vasectomy is a surgical procedure that is performed on males to achieve permanent birth control. The procedure involves cutting or blocking the vas deferens, which are the tubes that carry sperm from the testicles to the urethra. During a vasectomy, a small incision is made in the scrotum, and the vas deferens are located and cut or blocked. The procedure typically takes around 20-30 minutes and can be performed in a urologist’s office or clinic using local anesthesia.
After the procedure, you may experience some swelling and discomfort in the scrotum, but these symptoms typically resolve within a few days. You should avoid strenuous activity and sexual activity for a few days following the procedure. It’s important to note that vasectomy is considered a permanent form of birth control and should only be considered by those who are sure they do not want to have children in the future. While a vasectomy can be reversed in some cases, the success rates for reversal are not guaranteed.
Vasectomy is generally a safe and effective form of birth control, with a success rate of over 99%. It does not affect sexual function or libido, and there is no change in the amount or appearance of semen after the procedure. It’s important to discuss the risks and benefits of vasectomy with a urologist and to consider all other forms of birth control before making a decision.
Vasectomy – Male Contraception
A Vasectomy is an option for men to undergo a permanent form of contraception. The procedure itself involves removing or blocking the vas deferens, which are the tubes that transport sperm from the testicles to the penis. For pregnancy to occur, a male’s sperm must reach the ovaries of a female through injection or intercourse. Many people look for ways to avoid pregnancy. These include condoms, female birth control, and even Plan B as a last measure. Every year 500,000 men in the United States choose vasectomy for birth control. A vasectomy prevents pregnancy better than any other method of birth control aside from abstinence. Only one out of two thousand women will get pregnant after their partner has had a vasectomy. If you are looking for a permanent and effective way to eliminate the concern of childbirth, then a Vasectomy may be your solution.
The Vasectomy procedure is mainly performed by a Urologist and is a minor procedure that is minimally invasive. First and foremost whether the patient is doing the procedure in the office or surgically the patient is made comfortable and numb before the procedure. You should not feel any pain during your procedure and comfort medications can be prescribed on a case-by-case basis. Your safety and comfort are our top priority. Your conventional vasectomy is going to consist of the use of a scalpel. A surgeon will make two small slits within the scrotum. One on each side. These slits will allow the surgeon to enter your scrotum and remove the vas deferens to cancel out any form of sperm transportation to the penis. Once the vas deferens have been removed, these tubes are then sealed and the cuts are closed and stitched. There is also a form of vasectomy that doesn’t require a scalpel. This is called an incision vasectomy. The vas deferens will be clamped in place. Your doctor will then make a small hole in the skin of the scrotum to remove a piece of the vas deferens. Many people will choose this method as there is a lower risk of complications.
The recovery process is much shorter than most would imagine. Doctors recommend that you take 2 – 3 days off from work following the surgery. However, since this is a surgery, there is a chance you will be feeling some mild pain or discomfort after the vasectomy. This is usually subsided by placing a bag of ice on your scrotum. Unfortunately, there may be some blood in the semen following the surgery.
Also, you aren’t immediately drained of all the sperm within your body. Typically, the sperm count will be diminished after a maximum of three months. It is recommended that a man follows up on the surgery with a sperm count approximately 8 weeks afterward. If your semen tests come up with zero sperm counts after two attempts, then your ability to impregnate your partner is around the 1 percentile area.
Approximately one to two percent of men have ongoing pain or discomfort after a vasectomy. The pain is most often treated with anti-inflammatories. The exact causes of the pain are unknown and with all procedures, there can be minor complications on a case-by-case basis. Overall the procedure has proven to be effective and minimally invasive.
Other risks include;
- Bruising or a small amount of bleeding at the incision site. This is comparable to any other minor cut or injury that needed a few stitches.
- Infection although rare, can occur at the surgery site so it is advised to keep it clean and dry.
- Swelling of the vas deferens.
- A lump at the surgery site is known as a “sperm granuloma” which is a lump caused by sperm leaking from the vas deferens into the nearby tissue. This is not painful or problematic.
- Having a vasectomy will not impact your sexual function.
A vasectomy should not decrease your sex drive or impact your usual performance. You will still have the ability to ejaculate as only 5-10% of ejaculation comes from the testicles. The ejaculation will still look and feel the same but microscopically it will consist of little to no sperm.
If you do experience any changes in sexual function or desire it is advised to contact your physician.
- Sterilization is not always immediate.
After the procedure, your sperm count gradually decreases. During this time you should still you preventive measures such as birth control. Discuss with your doctor when you can perform without these measures. Typically after 20 ejaculations or two months, the sperm count is low enough. Always consult with your doctor.
- You can reverse a vasectomy.
Sometimes there are occasions where a vasectomy has been performed and it is later decided that the patient should want children. A vasectomy reversal can be performed or a surgical sperm extraction. A vasectomy is initially a very simple minimally invasive procedure that can take twenty minutes in the office. A reversal can be a lot more complex and is a surgical procedure than can take four to six hours. This is very is extremely important to make an informed decision before getting a vasectomy. Performing a reverse vasectomy does not always result in a successful pregnancy. Although a reversal is an option it is more complicated and comes with greater risks.
A vasectomy does not protect from STDs or other sexually transmitted infections. It is performed for sterilization and pregnancy prevention.
Michael P. Zahalsky, MD
Dr. Michael Zahalsky is a Diplomate of the American Board of Urology, who has been practicing medicine for over 15 years. He graduated from Brown University with a triple concentration in Biology, Health and Society, and Biomedical Ethics. He went on to earn his medical degree at Brown University while also earning a masters degree in medical science with a focus on epidemiology and gerontology, writing a thesis on The Self Assessed Needs of the Elderly. Dr. Zahalsky completed his residency at Beth Israel Medical Center in New York City followed by a dual fellowship at Boston University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology. This fellowship included training in male and female sexual dysfunction, male infertility, and microsurgery. Dr. Zahalsky relocated to South Florida in 2005 to pursue his dream of founding his own Urology practice, Z Urology.
Clinically, Dr. Zahalsky has distinguished himself as a top specialist in laparoscopic minimally invasive surgery, male infertility, and male and female sexual dysfunction. Dr. Zahalsky performed the first ever robotic surgery in Urology in Broward County. He is also a member of the clinical faculty of Florida Atlantic University’s College of Medicine.
Dr. Zahalsky is an active member of numerous organizations including the American Urologic Association and the Society for the Study of Male Reproduction. He has published several chapters and articles in peer review journals including the Journal of Urology and Fertility and Sterility.
Dr. Zahalsky and Z Urology are dedicated to several charitable organizations such as JAFCO, In Jacobs Shoes, and The Boys and Girls Club.
Dr. Zahalsky is happily married to his wife, has three beautiful children, enjoys traveling, reading, and watching Game of Thrones. He was a contestant on Survivor Season 35.