Vasectomy is an operation performed to render a man sterile, unable to father children. Many men choose to have a vasectomy because it is more reliable than other birth control methods or their families are complete. The operation should be considered permanent. The vasa deferentia (tubes carrying sperm) can be surgically reattached (microsurgical vasectomy reversal), but at a greater complication and expense, and not always with great success.
Vasectomy is often the preferred method of permanent contraception as it is simpler than female sterilization, can be performed on an outpatient and often office-based basis, and is much less expensive.
This diagram illustrates the normal anatomy of the male reproductive system.
The testicles make sperm and the male sex hormone, testosterone, which goes directly into the blood stream. The epididymis is a series of coiled tubes that hold sperm until they mature. The vas deferens carries the sperm from the epididymis to the penis to exit through the urethra. The prostate and seminal vesicles secrete the fluids called semen (ejaculate) that nourish and carry the sperm.
How a Vasectomy Works
The procedure involves cutting and sealing the vasa deferentia (tubes carrying the sperm). This prevents the sperm from being able to travel outside of the penis. Sperm are still made by the testicle, but since they cannot get out, they are absorbed in the body.
This procedure does not affect the volume of a man's semen (ejaculate) or the production of the male sex hormone, testosterone. The operation cannot be considered complete until the semen (ejaculate) has been examined by the doctor to confirm that all sperm above the point of the operation have been emptied out.
What to expect
The procedure is performed at an outpatient surgery center or the doctor's office if the patient is an appropriate candidate. The surgeon feels for the vas deferens under the skin of the scrotum and holds it in place. The area is numbed with a local anesthetic and one or two small incisions are made in the scrotum. The vas deferens is then lifted through the incision and cut. The ends are then sealed. The incision may be closed with a stitch. The entire procedure typically lasts less than 30 minutes.
Serious side effects are rare. Swelling and bruising of the scrotum occasionally occur. Complications of inflammation, bleeding or infection are possible but uncommon. Other potential complications include the formation of a sperm granuloma, or a hard lump at the site of the cut vas deferens. This is a result of a small amount of sperm leaking from the vas. This is not dangerous and usually resolves with time. Additionally, congestion may occur leading to a sense of pressure caused by sperm in the testicles, epididymis or vas deferens. This usually resolves over time as well.
The physicians at Urology Specialists, P.C. will determine the suitability of vasectomy for you after completing a thorough consultation. They will go over your health history as it relates to vasectomy and you will receive a brief physical examination. For more information please contact our office or click on the link for Vasectomy Information and Consent.