A vasectomy is a form of permanent medical sterilization for men that's highly effective with very few complications. It is an outpatient surgical procedure that cuts the vas deferens tubes to keep sperm out of the semen. This procedure is highly effective at preventing unplanned pregnancies with few complications or unintended side effects. A vasectomy will not affect orgasm or ejaculate volume.
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The most common way to perform a vasectomy involves numbing the scrotum with a local anesthetic. The man will lie on their back as the vas deferens is gathered to one side under the skin of the scrotum. The urologist will make a tiny incision and pull the vas deferens tube through the incision, cut them in two places, and remove a small section of the tubes. Each end will be surgically sealed or clipped and placed back in the scrotum. This process is repeated on both vas deferens for a total of two incisions, which will be sutured afterward.
The entire procedure usually takes about 25 minutes on an outpatient basis. There are a few guidelines patients must follow before surgery, including discontinuing certain medications and wearing comfortable clothing.
A no-incision or no-scalpel vasectomy does not require an incision. Instead, a puncture is made in the vas deferens with forceps rather than a scalpel. The forceps stretch the skin to create a tiny hole that allows the vas deferens to be removed, cut, and cauterized before it's replaced in the scrotum.
A no-incision vasectomy is faster to perform with reduced pain during recovery and a lower risk of infection and bleeding.
After a vasectomy, limited mobility and discomfort are common. It's important to rest for up to three days to allow the vas deferens to fully heal. Discomfort is common for up to one week after a vasectomy. Pain medications and anti-inflammatory medications may be prescribed.
Semen samples will be taken at 6- and 12-weeks post-op to check for the presence of sperm. Unprotected intercourse will be approved when no sperm are found after two consecutive samples. It's essential to use contraception until both samples are analyzed to prevent pregnancy. After 12 weeks, a vasectomy will be about 99% to 100% effective.
While a vasectomy comes with far fewer complications than female sterilization or tubal ligation, rare complications may occur. Potential complications of a vasectomy include inflammation, bleeding, and pain that last longer than expected. In very rare cases, sperm may be found in semen for up to 12 months after a vasectomy which indicates that sperm had trouble leaving the vas deferens after surgery or the vas deferens tube reattached. In these cases, a repeat vasectomy may be advised.
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