A vasectomy is a popular procedure among men looking for a permanent birth control solution. With many minimally invasive techniques available from skilled urologists like Dr. Hugh Mallory Reeves, this procedure is associated with vastly lower rates of potential complications as compared to the equivalent sterilization surgery used for females, which is why many couples or even single men will elect to complete a vasectomy to prevent future pregnancy.
As with any sort of medical procedure, patients often have multiple questions regarding the vasectomy process and what to expect both before and after treatment. Don’t see your question in the list below? Not a problem! Simply call Dr. Reeves at (910) 662-8765 to schedule an appointment with one of our urologists in Wilmington or Jacksonville today.
How Should I Prepare for a Vasectomy?
It is important for patients to share all relevant information with Dr. Reeves, as these may influence the result of the vasectomy. For example, be sure to communicate any known allergies or effects caused by common medications or topical anesthetics. It is also critical to address and questions or concerns during this preliminary stage so that patients can be well informed and educated about their procedure.
Exact instructions will be given prior to arriving at the office of Dr. Reeves for your vasectomy. While these guidelines may vary, they generally include:
- Avoiding blood thinners, anti-inflammatories, or aspirin in the few days leading up to the procedure
- Eat a small, nutritious meal before the vasectomy to prevent lightheadedness or nausea that can occur after fasting for several hours
- Wearing an athletic supporter or tightfitting undergarments to support the treatment area after the vasectomy
- Shower before surgery to ensure the site is appropriately cleaned before the procedure
- You may also be asked to shave the genitals yourself, or this may be done in the office before the vasectomy begins
- Arrange to have a friend or family member help to care for you after the procedure is complete
What Happens During a Vasectomy?
Depending upon your urologist’s chosen approach, a vasectomy may be performed using various specialized techniques. While traditional surgery to complete a vasectomy is still a highly effective option, many urologists now offer minimally invasive options for men who wish to complete this procedure.
No matter what method is selected, the process remains relatively the same. To begin, the patient will be numbed so that they are comfortable throughout the entire treatment, at which point a small incision will be made so that the urologist has access to the patient’s vas deferens. The vas deferens are two tubes responsible for carrying a man’s semen from the testicles to create semen. Without the vas deferens, sperm have no way to exit the body and fertilize a woman’s egg, meaning that pregnancy is not possible.
After the vas deferens are cut and quickly sealed using highly focused heat at the ends of each tube, the procedure is essentially complete. A stitch or two may be made to close the treatment site, though the incision is usually so small that it can be left to heal on its own.
How Long Will I Need to Recover?
Recovery from a vasectomy, especially one that is performed using minimally invasive techniques, is quite minimal. Patients should expect some soreness and swelling in the first 24-48 hours after their vasectomy, though this should dissipate quickly so long as they rest and limit their activities as much as possible during this period.
Most men are able to return to work and other everyday responsibilities within 2-3 days following their vasectomy, though it is advised to avoid any heavy lifting or other strenuous activity until you receive proper clearance from your doctor.
Are There Major Risks to Having a Vasectomy?
The most common side effects after a vasectomy are mild pain, bruising, bleeding, and swelling. Of course it is still possible for more severe issues to occur, though they are incredibly rare. These include:
- Chronic pain
- Failure to prevent pregnancy
- Granuloma (inflammation caused by leaking sperm)
- Spermatocele formation (a small cyst of the upper testicle region)
- Hydrocele (a fluid-filled sac of tissue that grows within the scrotum)
Individuals at risk for more serious complications include those who have suffered testicular cancer or testicular disease, though even in these outlying groups rarely encounter serious side effects caused by a vasectomy. Be sure to discuss your own individual risk factors with Dr. Reeves to determine if a vasectomy is a safe option for you.
Will a Vasectomy Affect My Sexual Function?
No. A vasectomy has absolutely no proven effect on a man’s sex drive, sexual functions, or pleasure during sex. There are many common myths surrounding this particular question, though all evidence clearly shows that the only difference a man should notice after a vasectomy compared to his life before is that he is no longer able to father children.
How Effective Is a Vasectomy?
Please be very aware that the results of a vasectomy are not immediate. The urologist will need to test the patient’s sperm in the weeks following a vasectomy to determine if the procedure was in fact successful at preventing the production and transfer of sperm through the vas deferens. During this time, men are instructed not to engage in unprotected sex, as this could lead to a potential pregnancy.
A vasectomy is more than 99% effective. Of the few cases in which a pregnancy does occur after a vasectomy, a majority are within the first year after the procedure is performed.
What If I Change My Mind?
There is a procedure for that as well! A vasectomy reversal may be offered to men who have previously undergone a vasectomy and later wish to conceive a child.
It is of course advised for patients to carefully consider this possibility before they complete a vasectomy, as vasectomy reversal procedures are not guaranteed to be effective. Men may also consider storing their sperm in a sperm bank prior to a vasectomy as a sort of safeguard to this potential situation.
Schedule a Consultation with H. Mallory Reeves, MD
If you would like to talk to a Dr. Reeves about a vasectomy, please give us a call at (910) 662-8765. Alternatively, you can request an appointment online through our secure form.