UW Health Urologist Dan Williams, MD, discusses vasectomies and what men can expect from this common procedure.
UW Health urologists offer vasectomies for those men wanting a permanent form of birth control.
Vasectomies are one of the most common procedures performed with more than half a million vasectomies performed in the U.S. every year.
Vasectomies are one of the most effective treatments for birth control.
During a vasectomy, the vas deferens - the tubes leading to the testes - are blocked preventing the sperm from reaching the prostate, where it mixes with the semen. Without sperm in the semen, pregnancy is not possible. After a vasectomy, the testes will continue to produce sperm, however the sperm will then be reabsorbed by the body.
Types of Vasectomies
There are two basic types of vasectomy procedures - the conventional method and the no-scalpel method.
Vasectomies are generally performed in the office with medication.
During a conventional vasectomy, small incisions are made on each side of a man's scrotum. Through the incisions, the vas deferens are cut and sealed, blocking the sperm from reaching the prostate.
During a no-scapel vasectomy, the urologist will make a small puncture into the skin with a special instrument. The tubes are blocked using the same method as in the conventional vasectomy.
Generally, there is decreased pain during the procedure and a quicker recovery time from a no-scapel vasectomy.
Recovery Time For a Vasectomy
Most men experience minimal discomfort after a vasectomy. Most discomfort can be readily managed by an over-the-counter pain medication, such as acetaminophen. Medications such as Ibuprofen or aspirin should be avoided as they increase the risk of bleeding.
Generally, men should abstain from strenuous activity for a few days and wear an athletic supporter for at least a week to support the area during the healing process.
Sperm can still be present in the semen for a couple of months following a vasectomy. Couples should continue their current method of birth control until two separate semen samples show no sperm.
While vasectomies should be considered permanent, about five percent of men desire more children. A surgical procedure is available to reverse the vasectomy. Even with the availability of a reversal surgery, however, men should still strongly consider their future expectations prior to undergoing a vasectomy.