Reliable Permanent Birth Control
Every year, more than 500,000 men choose vasectomy as a safe, effective, and permanent form of birth control. This is usually an office-based procedure that takes 20-30 minutes and results in minimal recovery time. Our fellowship-trained expert physicians use the latest techniques to ensure your comfort and long-term success.
Reviewing this information, I suspect you are also considering vasectomy as a contraceptive option. Having a vasectomy is a very personal choice and, at the same time, one that affects others, that is, your partner. Therefore I recommend you review this information, allow your partner to review this information, and discuss the risks, benefits, and alternatives together. My goal is to make sure you are comfortable with your decision to have a vasectomy and to be comfortable with the procedure before you have it done. I believe the best way to meet that goal is to provide you with as much information as possible and answer all your questions. I encourage your partner to attend your consultation as well, as this also allows me to answer their questions.
The most common questions that are asked are:
- What is a vasectomy (how is it done)?
- Is it safe?
- How reliable is it?
- What are the alternatives?
- What should I expect before, during, and after the vasectomy?
- What are my post-procedure limitations?
- Are there any long-term disadvantages or side effects?
Most men understand that a vasectomy is a form of contraception though it is important to know that a vasectomy is intended to be a permanent form of contraception. You and your partner should be comfortable with and desire permanent sterilization. If you are a young, single male without children, I strongly recommend you pursue other forms of contraception.
Vasectomy has been a low-risk and reliable form of permanent contraception for over 70 years. This is a simple procedure that most men choose to have performed in the office with local anesthesia. However, vasectomies can be done in the operating room with sedation or general anesthesia. During the procedure, a small incision or puncture is made in the scrotal skin, a segment of the vas deferens is removed, and the ends are sealed closed. This prevents sperm delivery to the semen. Therefore, preventing pregnancy.
As with any surgical procedure, there are risks with having a vasectomy. These risks include a low risk of infection, bleeding, epididymitis, post-vasectomy pain, and recanalization.
Recanalization is when the cut and sealed ends of the vas deferens reconnect or “hook back up,” and sperm are present in the ejaculate. The risk for recanalization is very low, around 0.5%, and recanalization typically happens immediately after the process is done. Once you have attained a semen analysis, with no sperm, after the vasectomy, your chances of being able to conceive fall to less than 1 in 2,000. This makes a vasectomy the most reliable form of contraception available.
If you don’t feel like you or your partner are ready for a vasectomy, several alternative forms of birth control are not permanent. The alternative form of birth control for men is condoms. Women can utilize birth control pills, patches, rings, diaphragms, IUDs, or injections as reversible forms of contraception. Women can also utilize a permanent surgical procedure called a tubal ligation or Essure ***for sterilization
If you have your vasectomy in the office, local anesthesia will be used to anesthetize the skin and vas deferens. After the skin and vas are numb, the vasectomy can be performed. The typical vasectomy will take between 20 and 30 minutes, and during that time, you may notice some erratic movement and occasional “tugging.”
After the process, lounging around for the following 48 hours is recommended. Intermittently icing the scrotum (frozen peas are a favorite method for this) for the day of the vasectomy; the following day will reduce your swelling and discomfort. You may notice bruising at the incision site or higher up on the scrotum. We recommend keeping the incision dry until the second day after the vasectomy. We recommend avoiding any heavy lifting, strenuous activity, or sexual activity for the week following the procedure. Most men will report scrotal soreness during that first week, which steadily improves. Compression shorts or a jock strap will minimize that discomfort. After a week, you may resume sexual activity, but remember you must continue to use contraception until you have a negative semen analysis (no sperm).
There are no long-term negative effects of a vasectomy. Erections remain normal, testosterone production remains unchanged, and ejaculation is the same. Most men never notice a change in their ejaculate volume. Also, the risk of developing prostate cancer after a vasectomy does not change compared to men who have not had a vasectomy.