Vasectomy:

Questions, Answers & Instructions
If you and your partner are considering sterilization (an operation that makes you unable to have children) as your method of birth control, you probably have questions that you would like answered before making a decision. This information sheet discusses vasectomy, the procedure used to sterilize men. It describes how vasectomy prevents pregnancy, how it is performed , and what you can expect after the procedure. Your doctor will want to thoroughly discuss your decision with you and your partner.

What is a Vasectomy?

To better understand why a vasectomy makes you unable to have children, review illustration "a" of the male reproductive system. Sperm are produced in each testis within the scrotum and stored in the epididymis. They move up the vas deferens of each testis to the urethera. Along the way, the seminal vesicles and prostate secrete fluids that nourish and transport the sperm. W hen you have an orgasm you ejaculate semen, which is 98% fluid and 2% sperm.

During a vasectomy, each vas deferens is blocked so that sperm cannot travel through it. A piece of each vas deferens is removed and the cut ends sealed. See illustration "b."

What effect will a vasectomy have on my body?

None, other than preventing the sperm from traveling through each vas deferens and out through the urethra during orgasm. Your testes will continue to manufacture sperm, however, the sperm will die and be absorbed by the surrounding tissue. You will still be able to have erections, there will be no noticeable difference in the amount of fluid ejaculated at orgasm, and your body will consume to produce male hormones as it did before the vasectomy (eg. testosterone).

IS A VASECTOMY A MAJOR PROCEDURE?

A vasectomy can be performed in an office setting or at an outpatient surgical center.

If you opt to have the procedure without sedation, your scrotum will be numbed so that you will feel no pain. The doctor will make one or two small incisions in your scrotum, locate each vas deferens, and remove a section. Then, the doctor will close the open ends of the vas deferens by tying them with a suture and/or sealing the tips with an electric cautery. After the doctor repeats the procedure for the other vas deferens, he may or may not close the incision(s) with stitches. The entire procedure can usually be completed within 20-30 minutes.

HOW WILL I FEEL AFTER A VASECTOMY?

You will be able to go home as soon after the procedure as you feel able. Since you may feel unsteady on your feet, someone should drive you home.

The doctor will advise you to rest and to apply an ice pack to your scrotum until the morning after the surgery and, periodically thereafter, for the next two days. You can expect to feel some pain for 2-3 days, for which the doctor may recommend Tylenol (extra strength) as a mild pain killer. No products containing aspirin should be taken. In addition, continue to wear the athletic supporter for 3-4 days after surgery will help you feel more comfortable. Don't be alarmed if you feel some scrotal discomfort during the first week or two after surgery when engaging in intercourse. It takes time for everything to heal. Swelling and discoloration around the genital area is common, but usually disappears within two weeks. There may also be a small amount of bloody discharge from the incision.

The doctor will provide instructions about which activities to avoid, when you can return to work (usually within 2-3 days), and when you can resume intercourse (usually after one week). He will also alert you to signs of possible complications.

WHAT COMPLICATIONS MAY OCCUR?

A vasectomy is among the safest of surgical procedures. Potential problems are not life threatening. Bleeding may occur inside the scrotum resulting in swelling causing a bruised appearance. Sometimes, an infection can develop in the scrotal incision. A lump, called a sperm granuloma, may also develop due to leakage of sperm in the area where the vas deferens was cut. Such a lump is usually not pamful. Very rarely, the vas deferens reconnects and you can become ferti le again. Your doctor will discuss these complications and alert you to symptoms of each.

DOES A VASECTOMY CAUSE HARDENING OF THE ARTERIES?

There is no evidence that a vasectomy causes hardening of the arteries (arteriosclerosis) or any other systemic disease in men.

DOES A VASECTOMY WORK IMMEDIATELY?

No. You still have sperm stored between your penis and the point where the vasa deferentia were blocked. It usually takes several ejaculations to clear this residual sperm. You or your partner must use another form of birth control until your doctor determines that you are sterile.

HOW WILL THE DOCTOR KNOW IF I AM STERILE?

You or your family physician (particularly if you have HMO insurance) will need to make arrangements for a semen analysis. You may find it easiest to produce the specimen at the lab by masturbating into a bottle. If you  prefer, you can collect the specimen at home in a clean jar. It is important to bring your semen to the hospital/ lab within 2-3 hours to ensure accurate examination results. Two prescriptions  for a Semen Analysis can be found in the back of this packet.

Your specimen will be examined to be sure no sperm are present. When you have produced two sterile samples, the doctor will tell you that you and your partner can stop using a birth control method. If your semen contains sperm, the doctor '\vill ask you to return fOr another semen examination one month later. If your semen still contains sperm you  may need  the operation  repeated. Note: We do not check semen specimens in our office. Please arrange for semen specimens to be checked at a lab that accepts your insurance.

IS A VASECTOMY REVERSIBLE?

Vasectomies are considered a permanent form of sterilization. However, if you’ve had a change of heart you may be able to have a vasectomy reversal.  Vasectomy reversals are a type of microsurgery with varying degrees of success. Please make an appointment with us to discuss whether this is a viable option for you.