A vasectomy is a surgical procedure performed on males in which the vas deferens (tubes that carry sperm from the testicles to the seminal vesicles) are cut, tied, cauterized (burned or seared) or otherwise interrupted. The semen no longer contains sperm after the tubes are cut, so conception cannot occur. The testicles continue to produce sperm, but they die and are absorbed by the body.
The purpose of this operation is to provide reliable contraception
. Research indicates that the level of effectiveness is 99.6%. Vasectomy is the most reliable method of contraception.
Vasectomies are often performed in the doctor's office using a local anesthesia. The patient's scrotum area will be shaved and cleaned with an antiseptic solution to reduce the chance of infection. A small incision is made into the scrotum (the sac containing the testicles that produce the sperm). Each of the vas deferens (one from each testicle) is tied in two places with nonabsorbable (permanent) sutures and the tube is severed between the ties. The ends may be cauterized (burned or seared) to decrease the chance that they will leak or grow back together.
Sterility does not occur immediately after the procedure is finished. Men must use other methods of contraception until two consecutive semen analyses confirm that there are no sperm present in the semen. This will take four to six weeks or 15-20 ejaculations to clear all of the sperm from the tubes.
"No scalpel" vasectomies are gaining popularity. Instead of an incision, a small puncture is made into the scrotum. The vas deferens are cut and sealed in a manner similar to that described above. No stitches are necessary and the patient has less pain. Other advantages include less damage to the tissues, less bleeding, less risk of infection, and less discomfort after the procedure.
In some, cases vasectomies may be reversed. However, this procedure should be considered permanent as there is no guarantee of successful reversal.
No special physical preparation is required. The physician will first assess the patient's general health in order to identify any potential problems that could occur. The doctor will then explain possible risks and side effects. The patient is asked to sign a consent form which indicates that he understands the information he has received, and gives the doctor permission to perform the operation.
Following the surgery, ice packs are often applied to scrotum to decrease pain
and swelling. A dressing (or athletic supporter) which supports the scrotum can also reduce pain. Mild over-the-counter pain medication such as aspirin
(Tylenol) should be able to control any discomfort. Activities may be
Vasectomy is a surgical procedure performed on males in which the vas deferens (tubes that conduct sperm from the testicles to the penis) are cut, tied, cauterized, or otherwise interrupted. Although the testicles still produce sperm, the sperm die and are absorbed by the body. Men who have had vasectomies may continue to ejaculate the same amount of semen as before the procedure.
(Illustration by Electronic Illustrators Group.)
restricted for one or two days, and sexual intercourse for three to four days.
There are very few risks associated with vasectomy other than infection, bruising, epididymitis (inflammation of the tube that carries the sperm from the testicle to the penis), and sperm granulomas (collection of fluid that leaks from a poorly sealed or tied vas deferens). These are easily treated if they do occur. Patients do not experience difficulty achieving an erection, maintaining an erection, or ejaculating. There is no decrease in the production of the male hormone (testosterone), and sex drive and ability are not altered. Vasectomy is safer and less expensive than tubal ligation (sterilization of a female by cutting the fallopian tube to prevent conception).
Normally, vasectomies are 99% successful in preventing conception. As such, it is one of the most effective methods available to consumers.
Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Inc.. 810 Seventh Ave., New York, NY 10019. (800) 669-0156. http://www.plannedparenthood.org.
— The act of expelling the sperm through the penis during orgasm.
— Inflammation of the small tube that rests on top of the testicle and is part of the system that carries sperm from the testicle to the penis. The condition can be successfully treated with antibiotics if necessary.
— The sac which contains the testicles.
— A collection of fluid that leaks from an improperly sealed or tied vas deferens. They usually disappear on their own, but can be drained if necessary.
— The two egg-shaped organs found in the scrotum that produce sperm.
— A surgical procedure in which the fallopian tubes are tied in two places and cut between. This prevents eggs from moving from the ovary to the uterus.