A vasectomy is a form of male sterilisation which seals off the tubes that carry sperm from the testicles to the penis. Having a vasectomy means the patient will no longer be able to father children.
The procedure can be carried out as a day-case in which the patient receives local anaesthetic and it normally takes only 20 minutes. The surgeon will locate the tubes through the skin and make small incisions, less than 1cm, in both sides of the scrotum. Each exposed tube is cut, and a small section is removed and then the two ends are sealed or tied. The cuts in the skin are closed using dissolvable stiches or adhesive strips.
A vasectomy will not affect the man’s sex drive, testosterone levels or erections. Slightly less fluid may be produced during ejaculation but this isn’t normally noticeable. The only difference is the fluid will not contain any sperm. The body will still naturally produce sperm however it will not be able to travel to the penis and will just be re-absorbed.
How successful is a vasectomy?
Vasectomies are considered to be 99% effective and considered permanent (NHS, 2013). Although there is an operation to reverse a vasectomy, it is not always successful so the patient needs to be absolutely sure they do not want any more children before deciding to have a vasectomy.
After the operation
Another form of contraception will need to be used for at least eight weeks after the operation as sperm will still be present in the tubes leading to the penis and during this time pregnancy is possible. One or two semen tests will be done to ensure that all the sperm has gone. Vasectomies do not protect against sexually transmitted infections.
After the operation the patient may experience a bruised, swollen or painful scrotum and on-going pain in the testicles. As with any surgery there is a slight risk of infection. Your consultant will discuss all risks involved in the procedure with the patient in detail.
What is a no-scalpel vasectomy?
Spire Clare Park Hospital offers the no-scalpel vasectomy which is a simple and gentle procedure that holds many significant advantages over the traditional vasectomy. The procedure is quicker to perform and uses a fine needle-point rather than a scalpel and results in very little bleeding, less bruising, and a faster recovery time. No incisions are made allowing for minimal physical discomfort for patients both during and after the procedure.