Expert Answers to Common Questions about Vasectomy
Considering getting a vasectomy? Let’s be honest. No guy is comfortable thinking about that type of procedure “down there.” But, UnityPoint Health Urologist, Brian Le, MD, answers common questions about vasectomy, helping you decide whether it’s the best contraception option for your family.
- What happens during the vasectomy procedure? Patients undergo a 20-30 minute procedure, where the tubes allowing sperm to exit the testes are isolated and blocked off using various techniques. This is done through a small incision in the scrotum or a puncture in the scrotal skin.
- Do you receive pain medication before, during and after? Vasectomy should not hurt. You receive a local anesthetic, which numbs the area. Patients may choose a mild sedative to help with anxiety as well. If you continue to experience pain, inform the doctor, who can take extra steps to reduce pain. You will also receive some pain medication to take home.
- Approximately, how long does a vasectomy take? Usually 20 minutes.
- What recovery time is associated with a vasectomy? Expect two to three days of rest and ice to the area, with limited activity. After that time, you may ease back into normal activities. Typically, it takes about two weeks before feeling 100 percent back to normal.
- What can I do to help speed vasectomy recovery? Prevention of swelling is the key to a speedy recovery. Ice, compression and rest are the main recovery methods. The better you are about doing those things over the first 48 hours, the better off you will be over the next few weeks.
- How soon can I have sex again after a vasectomy? You may resume sexual activity one week after vasectomy, with a backup form of contraception, as the procedure does not produce immediate sterility. It may take 10 weeks or longer before all viable sperm is cleared out.
- How effective is a vasectomy against conception? There is no procedure that completely guards against conception, but vasectomy is over 99.9 percent effective, if patients follow through all the steps.
- Are there any complications after having a vasectomy? Globally, vasectomy is safe and one of the most cost-effective options for contraception. Complications exist, but are low, with an overall complication rate of two percent. This can include hematoma, infection, chronic pain and need for repeat procedures. Vasectomy does not affect sexual function or enjoyment of sex.
- Is a vasectomy reversible? Vasectomy is reversible, but it should be approached as a permanent form of male sterilization, as reversal procedures are usually not covered by insurance and are not 100 percent successful. Likelihood of return of sperm after vasectomy is affected by duration of blockage, testicular function and experience of person doing the reversal.
- Are there any situations where a vasectomy isn’t possible for a patient? There are only a few situations where it is not possible, or at least, not recommended. This can include bleeding disorders and poor wound healing.
- What is the best way to talk about permanently preventing pregnancy with your partner/spouse? Vasectomy allows men to take an active role in family planning. The best way to talk about permanently preventing pregnancy is to communicate about optimal family size and what makes the most sense as a couple. A doctor who performs vasectomy can help with that conversation if there are questions, but ultimately, the decision comes down to what is best for you and your partner.