What is vasectomy?
In the United States alone, 500 thousand vasectomies are performed every year. Couples often choose vasectomy as a means of birth control. They prefer this operation because it is safe, effective and can be performed using minimal techniques.
What can be achieved with a successful vasectomy?
If a vasectomy is performed in a proper way, it interrupts the flow of the sperm from the testicles to avoid unplanned pregnancy. The testis is the sperm producing organ in men. They are located in the scrotum. Sperm cells are produced in the testicles and are stored within the epididymis which is adjacent to the testicles. Then sperm is transported through the vas deferens, through the prostate gland, and seminal vesicles for further ejaculation.
What vasectomy does, it interrupt vas deferens and prevents sperm from entering in the ejaculate.
There are a couple of key points that must be considered before planning a vasectomy:
Vasectomy is a permanent procedure
That is, once you performed a vasectomy, there is no way back. Couples who consider vasectomy must come to terms with a desire to have permanent birth control. If there are any reservations as far preplanned birth is concerned, vasectomy may not be the right choice.
While it is theoretically and clinically possible for a vasectomy to be reversed, it is a very complicated and very expensive procedure. The reversal procedure is also rarely covered by insurance and is effective in only about half of the cases.
Vasectomy is not perfect
Another thing a couple needs to take into consideration is that vasectomy not perfect. It ios an effective means of birth control land has numerous advantages over nonpermanent forms of birth control, but failures sometimes occur. Such failures are extremely rare and can be detected via the proper follow up with your doctor.
The follow-up procedure
This procedure consists of the two semen analysis after the vasectomy is performed. The semen ejaculate is analyzed in a laboratory to confirm the absence of sperm.
Methods of performing a vasectomy
There are several ways to perform a vasectomy. Generally, the procedure takes 15 to 30 minutes to perform. It can be performed either in the urologist’s cabinet or in the surgery center.
Usually, it is performed under local anesthesia and occasionally under sedation.
Local anesthesia involves the injection of special medication to deaden the nerves. It may become uncomfortable but its advantage is that is easily tolerated by any man. After the administration of local anesthesia, you will be able to tell the doctor working, touching your skin, but you will be unable to tell the difference between touching with a ginger or needle.
This is performed usually in the form of a valium pill. This is administered usually 30 minutes to 1 hour before the start of the procedure, or it can be administered into the vein of your arm.
Although you may stay awake, the medication will significantly help you relax.
After the anesthesia is given, your doctor will identify vas deferens on each side of your penis and will bring them to the skin surface through either puncture or small incision.
Then, the vas deferens tube is interrupted either by removing a segment or burning inside of the tube or else, placing clips on the end of the tube. It also can be a combination of each of these.
Your doctor may also decide to send segments of your vas deferens to a pathologist to confirm removal.
Most men can go home immediately after the procedure. Make sure someone drives you if you are sedated during the procedure.
It ios also recommended stopping at a local pharmacy to fill the pain medication prescription on a way home. The local anesthetic injection typically wears off between 1 and 2 hours after the injection. Pain medication is to be taken prior to that time.
What to do after the procedure is performed:
- Application of ice or other cold packs to the scrotum. These will help to decrease bruising and swelling while providing pain relief
- Limit your physical activity for 24 to 72 hours after the procedure to allow proper healing.
- Avoid excessive motion, lifting, straining, or exercise as any of these increase the risk of bruising, swelling or bleeding after the procedure.
- It is normal to have moderate discomfort for a week or so after the procedure.
- The amount of discomfort after 72 hours will help determine the level of allowed activity. The rule is simple. If it is more uncomfortable, do not do it.
- You may shower after 48 hours of the procedure, but submerging in water should be avoided for a week or so.
- It is recommended to withdraw from any sexual activity including preliminary within 7 to 10 days upon performing the procedure.
- Your urologist will overview care of the incision or a puncture site.
- Keep the genital area clean and dry.
- MOST IMPORTANT: have your semen specimens checked for sperm. Most commonly, specimens are required to be taken 2 months and 4 months after the procedure is performed.
- You should expect to use at least for 4 months other forms of birth control following the procedure.
Risks from vasectomy
No matter how minor, all procedures carry some risks. While vasectomy is very safe and effective, there are risks that should be carefully considered.
Risk of infection or bleeding. Any time an incision or puncture is made to the skin, you run a risk of infection or bleeding.
Take care of the following:
- Clean the scrotum and vasectomy site prior to the procedure.
- Your urologists may ask you to take antibiotics for a brief period of time following the procedure.
- Minimize physical activity. The risk of bruising is increased depending on physical activity levels following the procedure.
- Vasectomy presents no increased risk for cancer. There is no scientific or medical research evidence that supports increased risk for cancer or other health problem related to vasectomy.
- It is, however, important to follow your doctor’s recommendations regarding a healthy lifestyle.
- A sperm granuloma. Occasionally, men will develop a sperm granuloma at the site of the vasectomy. This is where the small of sperm make the way out of the vas deferens producing a small amount of irritation. These are essentially painless and harmless and do not indicate cancer or any kind of other problem.
- Very rarely, men will have pain as much as a year beyond the healing period. When this happens, it is usually managed with intermittent medications.
- In the small percentage of cas4esd, the sperm continues to appear in the ejaculate after the vasectomy. This can occur through a process known as recanalization. O put it simply, sperm travels between two canal of vas deferens. This usually occurs during the healing process and is detected via the follow up as recommended by your urologist.
- In extremely rare cases, recanalization can occur years after the vasectomy.
The results of vasectomy
If proper healing occurs, and the flow in vas deference is interrupted, sperm is continued to be made in the testicles but is reabsorbed and recycled in the body.
Vasectomy does not affect your erection, your sex drive, or your ejaculation. Sperm that travel; through vas deference makes up only a small amount of overall fluid that is involved in the ejaculation. There is no noticeable difference in the ejaculate before and after vasectomy.
Prior to vasectomy
After carefully researching and considering vasectomy as a means of birth control, you and your partner feel like you want to proceed, then few small steps and preparation may make the process easier.
- Avoid anti-inflammatory medications (for example, aspirin) for at least 2 weeks prior to the vasectomy. These medications may increase the risk of bleeding.
- If you are taking any medications that were prescribed to you by your doctor, be sure to let your urologists know about them. So he or she can decide whether you should continue them.
- Schedule the procedure when you can rest. Avoid personal or working circumstances that may increase your physical activity to avoid pain, bleeding or other complications.
- Make sure your friend or partner is available to drive you home and be available for the recovery period.
- Arrange for cold packs.
- Wear a tight underwear or an athletic supporter. This is to provide support to the scrotum and minimize swelling.
- Wash scrotum using antibacterial soap the morning of the procedure to help minimize the risk of infection.
- Shaving the scrotum yourself may also help to minimize discomfort before and during the procedure.
- Vasectomy is a very safe procedure.
Why there is still information on the connection between vasectomy and prostate cancer?
While there is always a hypothetical risk of a relationship of vasectomy to prostate cancer, there is no even minimal evidence that would support such connection.
The reasons for such rumors may be the following:
- Men who perform vasectomy also consult the same urologists regarding prostate cancer.
- Men can also be diagnosed with cancer in its early stage, which is a very low risk. It often occurs in men after they reach the certain age.
Some studies performed recently were trying to look into a connection between the vasectomy procedure and death caused by prostate cancer. These studies were performed during twenty years. The results showed that men who performed vasectomy had a slightly higher death rate than those who did not.
However, what is known as the absolute risk was very low (only 0.2 percent increase.) These numbers were further corrected when screening for cancer was taking into consideration. As a result, extra risk turned out to be even smaller.
Considering current studies, men so not need to worry that there is an increased risk of prostate cancer from vasectomy procedure.