Vasectomyis a simple and safe procedure designed to render a male sterile or unable to father a child. About 5 million vasectomies occur in United States annually. This procedure prevents the sperm from travelling from the testis to the penis hence reducing the possibility pregnancy in your partner. Vasectomy doesn’t protect from sexually transmitted diseases; hence you will be advised to use a condom when engaging in an activity that might increase your risk of getting a sexually transmitted disease.
Types of Vasectomy Procedure
There are two major ways I which a vasectomy can be performed:
A conventional vasectomy done with a surgical knife
A ‘no scalpel’ vasectomy
Vasectomy is an outpatient procedure which generally requires about 30 minutes. Your doctor will numb your scrotum by injecting a local anaesthetic. For the conventional vasectomy, your doctor will then make two small incisions, one of each side of the scrotum to reach to the tube that carries sperm from your testis to your penis. After identifying them, your doctor will cut the tubes and seal them with the help of heat or tying them. The incision in your skin is closed with the help of sutures which get absorbed in the body as the incision heals. For the no scalpel vasectomy will puncture the skin of the scrotum to read the sperm carrying tube; because no incision is made you will not have sutures. The doctor then cuts the tubes like in the conventional vasectomy. There is less bleeding and less pain in the no scalpel vasectomy.
Indications for Vasectomy
A vasectomy is a nearly foolproof and permanent method of birth control for males. It is suggested for males who have children and do not wish to have anymore offspring or for males who are sure that they never wish to father a child. Although vasectomy reversal surgeries exist, their success rates are low. They diminish with time since the surgery. It is possible to father a child after a vasectomy with the help of IVF technology, but it is expensive and not foolproof. Hence for men who are considering vasectomy as a form of birth control, it should be considered a permanent solution.
Preparation for Vasectomy
To prepare for the surgery your doctor might ask you to undergo a round of counselling to ascertain that you understand the outcome of the surgery. You will be required to tell your doctor about all the medications that you’ve been taking. Your doctor might ask you to stop certain medications like blood thinners before the surgery. Tell your doctor about any allergies to local anaesthetics that you might have experienced before. On the night before the surgery clean your groin and scrotum thoroughly. Take the pre operative medications as indicated by your doctor. Carry a pair of tight fitting underwear or athletic supporter with you; this is to be worn for a few days after the surgery to provide support. It is advisable to arrange for someone to drive you home after the surgery.
Risks of Vasectomy
Vasectomy may be accompanied by complications like inflammation, swelling and infection but these are not common. The other complications can be:
- Formation of sperm granuloma: a small, hard ball of sperm may be felt in your testis because of leakage of sperm. This usually resolves on its own.
- Abnormal cyst in the upper part of your testicle called spermatocoele
- Pregnancy: rare, in the event that the vasectomy fails.
- Hydrocoele: fluid accumulation in the scrotum
Recovery after Vasectomy
Most men recover in about 8-10 days. You may resume everyday activities a day after the surgery unless they are strenuous. After the surgery you may take a bath on the next day. Clean the surgery site gently and keep it dry. You will be advised to use birth control for the first 8-12 weeks after which your doctor will request for a semen analysis test; if the results of the test declare the absence of sperm in your semen then you may stop using birth control methods. If the test results come out to be positive for sperms your doctor might ask you to wait for a few more weeks before the next test can be performed or re evaluate you for the surgery.