Vasectomies are a popular birth control option for men, but many still wonder about vasectomy side effects. We address the most common concerns below.
In this article:
- What Is A Vasectomy?
- What Are the Types of Vasectomy?
- How Is a Vasectomy Done?
- How Long Does a Vasectomy Surgery Take?
- What Happens After A Vasectomy?
- How Long Is the Vasectomy Recovery Time?
- What Are the Possible Vasectomy Side Effects?
- Will You Still Be Able to Ejaculate After Vasectomy?
- How Effective Is a Vasectomy?
- How Is the Follow-Up Check-Up Done?
- Is a Vasectomy Reversible?
- Where Can You Get A Vasectomy Done?
Vasectomy Definition, Side Effects, and Recovery Time
What Is A Vasectomy?
A vasectomy is a clinical procedure done on the male reproductive organ, particularly on the vas deferens. These small tubes inside the scrotum are blocked or cut off during the surgery, to prevent them from carrying sperm outside the body.
The main purpose of vasectomies is to prevent pregnancy.
What Are the Types of Vasectomy?
There are two types of vasectomies, and they differ based on the approach.
The Incision Method requires cutting into the vas deferens using a scalpel, before blocking the tubes by cutting, tying, or cauterizing them. The incision is then closed by stitching.
No Scalpel Vasectomy, on the other hand, uses a hemostat to puncture a small hole through the scrotum to access the vas deferens. This hole does not require stitching.
Hemostat Definition: A clip-like surgical tool used to control the bleeding of vessels.
How Is a Vasectomy Done?
A vasectomy is done professionally by a urologist, a doctor who specializes in the male reproductive and urinary systems.
It is generally performed as an out-patient procedure, but it can be done in the hospital as well. Either way, the patient is awake during the vasectomy procedure and only a local anesthetic is used on the scrotum.
Based on the chosen approach, vasectomy surgeries are executed as follows:
Incision Method Vasectomy
- The scrotum is cleaned to prevent post-surgical infection.
- The doctor makes one or two cuts on the scrotum with a scalpel to get into the vas deferens.
- A small portion of the vas deferens is cut off and then tied with stitches or cauterized for sealing.
- The same steps will be performed on the other testicle.
- Once done, the doctor seals the scrotal cut using stitches or glue.
- The doctor then wraps the scrotum with a bandage to prevent the stitches or glue from coming off.
Cautery Definition: A procedure which uses heat to close up vessels. It is mainly used to control bleeding during surgeries.
No Scalpel Vasectomy
- The scrotum is cleaned to prevent infection post-surgery.
- A small hole is punctured on one side of the scrotum using a hemostat.
- The tubes are pulled through the hole and then cut to remove a small portion.
- The ends of the tubes are cauterized or tied and returned to their original positions.
- The same steps are repeated on the other testicle.
- There is no need to stitch up the holes considering their small sizes.
- The scrotum is wrapped with a bandage to keep the stitches inside from untying.
How Long Does a Vasectomy Surgery Take?
Vasectomies usually finish within 30 minutes.
What Happens After A Vasectomy?
Urinating should not be a problem, but it’ll be a little uncomfortable at first. The bandage wrap can be removed to allow the skin to breathe, but avoid heavy lifting and keep the genitals clean.
Vasectomy pain and discomfort will be present but manageable by:
- Wearing tight underwear to prevent the stitches from coming off
- Applying a cold compress on the scrotum for 15 minutes
- Taking analgesics (but avoid blood thinning formulations like aspirin and naproxen.)
How Long Is the Vasectomy Recovery Time?
Full vasectomy recovery time is about 10 days, though it may vary between individuals depending on their pain tolerance and ability to heal.
Vasectomy complications and side effects may also affect recovery time.
What Are the Possible Vasectomy Side Effects?
Vasectomy side effects and complications are rare, but some commonly reported ones include:
- A tinge of blood in the urine
- Bloody discharge from the surgical site
- Pain and swelling at the site of surgery
- Loss of appetite
These short-term vasectomy side effects are usually not harmful. They go away after a few days, provided the patient doesn’t:
- Soak the surgical site in water for a long time (e.g. swimming)
- Lift heavy objects
- Have sex
But there also have been reports of other symptoms which need immediate medical attention, as they may indicate an infection or another progressing condition:
- Smelly discharge (with or without blood) oozing from the surgical site
- Worsening pain, swelling, redness, and tenderness
- Sperm granuloma or benign growth in the testicles
Will You Still Be Able to Ejaculate After Vasectomy?
The answer is yes.
The semen or seminal fluid is made in the seminal vesicles and prostate gland, which are not affected by a vasectomy. But it will no longer contain sperm cells (after an estimate of 20 ejaculations).
The surgery prevents the sperm cells in the testes from reaching the seminal fluid. The body absorbs the sperm cells instead, which should not be a worry.
How Effective Is a Vasectomy?
More than 99% of vasectomies are successful. But do take note that they do not guarantee immediate protection against pregnancy.
The semen still has to be examined for the presence of sperm cells before one starts engaging in sexual intercourse post-operation. The patient may need to wait 12 weeks or longer, or ejaculate around 20 times, before the test is done.
How Is the Follow-Up Check-Up Done?
The doctor needs to collect a semen sample to be examined under a microscope. To produce it, the patient is required to ejaculate into a sterile container.
He may also use an unlubricated condom without spermicide during intercourse for collection.
Is a Vasectomy Reversible?
Vasectomies should be viewed as permanent birth control solutions, but there are cases that require reverting back to fertility. Thus, there is a procedure called vasectomy reversal.
This procedure reconnects the detached tubes or unblocks the tubes inside the scrotum via one of its two types: vasovasostomy and vasoepididymostomy.
The success rate is affected by factors like current health status, age, and time frame since vasectomy surgery.
Where Can You Get A Vasectomy Done?
Seek a Urologist for help with a vasectomy, or talk to your primary care physician to point you in the right direction. Our trained and experienced medical professionals at Midwest Urological Group can treat patients in Peoria, IL, and surrounding areas.
If you have any questions, or would like to schedule an appointment for vasectomy reversal evaluation and treatment in Peoria, IL, call Midwest Urological Group at (309) 692-9898.
Vasectomy, for the most part, has been proven as an effective form of birth control. But there may be side effects and complications, just like other clinical procedures. Self-care plays a huge factor in having good progress.
Consult your doctor. Present your questions and concerns. Together you can formulate an appropriate treatment plan for you.