A vasectomy is a surgical procedure that is considered a permanent form of birth control. After a vasectomy, sperm is not able to enter the seminal stream during ejaculation, which prevents fertilization. During the procedure, the vas deferens are cut and then tied or sealed, which is what blocks the sperm from exiting the body. Testicles will continue producing sperm, which will eventually be reabsorbed by the body.
Procedure And Options
The scrotum and testicles will be cleaned and possibly shaved. Following that, local anesthetic will be applied to the scrotum. Once the anesthetic takes effect, two small incisions are made in the scrotum, in order to allow the surgeon access to the vas deferens. The vas deferentia are then severed and fully separated, at which point one or both sides will be sealed. Seals can be applied via stitching, cauterizing, or clamping. The holes in the scrotum are then sealed with small stitches that dissolve and do not need removal.
Procedures take approximately 20-30 minutes, and urologists, general surgeons, or family medicine doctors can perform them.
Patients with apprehension about scalpels can opt for the no-scalpel vasectomy. Also known as a “key-hole” vasectomy, the no-scalpel procedure utilizes a hemostat – a surgical clamp – instead of a scalpel. The surgeon uses the hemostat to puncture the scrotum, resulting in a smaller incision, less bleeding, and quicker healing. The incision from a no-scalpel vasectomy usually will not require stitches and is also less likely to suffer infection after surgery.
Another procedural option is the open-ended vasectomy, in which the end of the vas deferens connected to the testicle is not sealed. This allows sperm to stream into the scrotum, which may reduce pain and discomfort after surgery.
The patient’s scrotum will be numb for one or two hours, and it is recommended that the patient lie on his back for the rest of the day and apply cold compresses to the affected area. As long as the job is not overly physically demanding, patients may return to work one or two days after surgery, though healing requires no heavy lifting for one week.
Vasectomy has a 99.85% success rate, meaning only 1 to 2 women out of 1,000 have an unexpected pregnancy after their partner’s vasectomy. Patients may have sexual intercourse as soon as they feel comfortable, usually within one week. Couples should continue using other forms of birth control until the total sperm count is 0 (usually 10-20 ejaculations). Since vasectomy is a permanent procedure, it is recommended that a patient be certain he and his family no long wants the option to have children before going through with the surgery.