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Vasectomy Procedure: Everything You Need To Know

Vasectomy Procedure: Everything You Need To Know

Heterosexual partners who have achieved the number of children they want may consider using birth control to prevent pregnancies. Though there are many forms, each comes with its own pros and cons. Condoms are easy to use, oral contraceptives have various benefits for women, while cervical caps are reusable. However, some people may be allergic to latex in condoms; cervical caps could cause irritation that could escalate into bladder infections; and oral contraceptives have side effects that include nausea, dizziness, and breast pain. Meanwhile, a vasectomy procedure may be preferable to other permanent forms of contraception because it is more cost-effective and this minor procedure has few side effects.

What is a Vasectomy?

For men who are very sure they don’t want to father children anymore, it is a minor surgical procedure to prevent sperm from reaching and fertilizing the egg. It does not prevent sperm formation and semen is still ejaculated; there’s just no sperm in it.

It is a permanent form of contraception, which is more than 99% effective. It could even improve your sex life, since the possibility of an accidental pregnancy is eliminated. Getting this procedure may help strengthen the intimacy between partners.

Types of vasectomy procedure

There are two types. Consult with your doctor about which kind would be most suitable for you.

Conventional vasectomy

One or two cuts are made in skin of scrotum (sac enclosing the testes). The vas deferens is cut and sometimes even a small section is cut out. Then the ends of the vas are cut and are tied or plugged with tissue. The surgeon repeats the process with the other vas. Finally, the cuts on the scrotum can be sewn up with absorbable stitches or left to heal and close by themselves.

Non-scalpel vasectomy

Your doctor will feel under the scrotum for the vas, which will be secured with a clamp. A tiny hole will be made in skin that will be stretched to expose and lift out the vas. It will be then cut, tied, or seared.

What should I do before a vasectomy?

The very first step you should take is to schedule a meeting with your doctor. He will discuss if this surgery is right for you. He will make sure you know the following:

  • Permanence of the vasectomy procedure
  • Your partner and family’s feelings about the decision
  • Other birth control options that you might like
  • Details of the procedure, risks, and complications

When you decide to proceed with your doctor’s recommendation, he may instruct you to not take any aspirin, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID), or blood-thinning medicine days before the procedure (e.g., warfarin, heparin, ibuprofen). You may be advised tight-fitting underwear to support the scrotum and reduce swelling. Before going in for the surgery, arrange for a ride home.

On the day itself, be sure to bathe and pay special attention to the genital area. Trim the pubic hair if needed.

What should I do post-surgery?

Watch out for signs of infection:

  • Fever higher than 38C
  • redness and swelling
  • increasing pain

Continue to wear supportive underwear for at least 48 hours after the vasectomy procedure. Use ice packs when necessary. For the first 24 hours, you will need to rest. While in recovery, avoid strenuous activity like sports and heavy lifting. Avoid sex, too, for about a week. When you engage in sex, you may feel pain or detect blood in your semen.

Continue to use condoms or other forms of contraception until your doctor states that there is no more sperm in the semen.

What are the risks and complications?

There are risks of a vasectomy procedure but they are very rare.

If you ever change your mind about fathering children and get a reversal, there is no guarantee that you will achieve a pregnancy.

The complications include:

  • Bleeding within scrotum
  • Bruising
  • Mild pain
  • Swelling
  • Infection at the site of surgery

Other complications can develop later:

  • Chronic pain (occurs in 1 to 2% of patients who have undergone the procedure)
  • Fluid accumulation in the testicle, which causes a dull ache that worsens during ejaculation
  • Granuloma: leaking sperm that causes inflammation
  • Spermatocele: cyst in the epididymis

Things to Remember

In the first year after a vasectomy procedure, some couples may still get pregnant but the rate is much lower than those who use non-permanent birth control. Specifically, it would take 15 to 20 ejaculations (about 3 months), while others take longer to eliminate sperm from their semen.

Vasectomies also don’t protect instantaneously against sexually transmitted infections or the human immunodeficiency virus.

Key Takeaways

For couples who are seriously thinking about permanent birth control, a vasectomy is a cost-effective option with minimal side effects. But before deciding, always talk to your doctor about what else you should know about the vasectomy procedure.

Learn more about Contraception here.

Ovulation Calculator

Ovulation Calculator

Tracking your period cycle, determines your most fertile days and increases your chance of conceiving or applying for birth control.

Ovulation Calculator

Tracking your period cycle, determines your most fertile days and increases your chance of conceiving or applying for birth control.

Ovulation Calculator

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Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

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Written by China Logarta Updated Apr 06
Medically reviewed by Dexter Macalintal, MD