Over 500,000 vasectomies are performed on men each year.
The vasectomy is highly effective (almost 100% effective in preventing fertilization of the female egg). The procedure itself takes only about 10 to 30 minutes and is usually performed right in a physician’s office. The procedure is often performed by a urologist specializing in male urology.
Any man who is sure he does not wish to have any children (or any additional children) in the future is a candidate for a vasectomy.
Although vasectomies are potentially reversible, no guarantee exists that a reversal procedure will work as effectively as the original procedure.
To perform a vasectomy. a doctor will use a small needle to inject a local anesthetic in the
scrotum’s skin to numb the area where the surgery will occur. If a scalpel technique is to be used, the doctor will make a small incision in the upper part of the scrotum. If a non-scalpel technique is used, the doctor will make a small puncture rather than an incision in the scrotum.
The doctor will locate the vas deferens (the tube that carries the semen from the testicle) and will withdraw part of it through the incision or puncture. The doctor will then cut the vas deferens and seal it by using either cauterization (heat), surgical clips or both. The ends of the vas deferens are then returned to the scrotum.
What to Expect
Before the procedure, the patient can expect for the doctor who will perform the vasectomy to consult with him regarding the understanding that a vasectomy is most likely permanent, how any partner the patient may have feels about the vasectomy, other birth control measures that are available, and what the surgery involves, including any complications that may arise after the surgery.
After the procedure, the patient can expect some bruising, swelling and pain. The doctor will give the patient instructions to follow during recovery.
The vasectomy requires several months to become effective. For this reason, another type of birth control will need to be used until the doctor is sure there are no more sperm in the semen. A minimum of 15 ejaculations, and possibly more than 20, are necessary to clear any sperm from the semen. The doctor will give the patient instructions on how to provide a semen sample approximately 12 weeks after the vasectomy to determine whether or not any sperm are still present.
It’s important to remember that a vasectomy does not protect against sexually transmitted diseases, so other forms of protection must be used if the patient is at risk.