Updated 13 September 2021 | Approved By Dr. Umberto Russo
What is a Vasectomy?A vasectomy is a surgical procedure that is typically performed on men as a form of permanent contraception. A vasectomy aims to prevent the chance of a future pregnancy with a partner. This procedure is most appropriate for individuals or families who have no desire to have more children. In 2015-2016, approximately 15000-16000 Australian men decided on having a vasectomy performed. Although this procedure affects male fertility, other sexual functions are generally preserved, including the ability to maintain erections and have sex. The following article will address important information to consider before deciding on getting the snip. Additionally, it is advised to hold discussions with your GP to ensure that you are being managed appropriately.
Vasectomy ProcedureVasectomies are usually performed by specially trained doctors, such as urologists, general surgeons and some GPs. Most procedures are performed under local anaesthetic. However, other options can be discussed upon consulting with your chosen specialist. Getting the snip is a simple, quick and generally painless process (especially after being anaesthetised) which can take anywhere between 15-30 minutes.
How does a vasectomy work?Anatomically, the purpose of a vasectomy is to prevent the flow of sperm into the penis during ejaculation. A healthy male will develop a reserve of mature sperm in their testes. When reaching an ejaculation, sperm travel from the testes to the penis through a tube called the vas deferens. During the vasectomy, the vas deferens is surgically cut and separated. As a result, this stops sperm from reaching the penis but is reabsorbed back into the body.
Vasectomy RecoveryMost people should expect a straightforward and prompt recovery after surgery. It’s normal to experience some mild pain, discomfort, bruising and swelling near the scrotum for the next few days. The majority of those who undergo a vasectomy will make a full recovery.
What should I do after a vasectomy?Manage the discomfort in the groin region as best as you can. Simple strategies, such as wearing supportive underwear and taking painkillers, can help ease post-operative pain. Additionally, ice can also provide some relief but should not be applied directly onto the scrotum.
When can I return to work?Discuss with your performing doctor about when you should return to work. Most people should be able to return to light activities and duties the following day. However, more time may be required for those regularly performing physically demanding work, such as heavy lifting.
How long after a vasectomy can you have sex?When consulting your doctor, ask when you can resume sexual activities. For some, this can start as soon as one week after the procedure.
Vasectomy Side EffectsGenerally, a vasectomy is a safe and effective procedure. Whilst rare, complications can include:
- Blood in the urine and/or semen
- Infections (e.g. urinary tract infection, etc.)
- Short-term discomfort and swelling in the scrotum region
- Sperm granuloma occurs when a build of sperm forms a lump in the testes
- Ongoing pain
Vasectomy Procedure Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Are vasectomies reversible?Some people who undergo a vasectomy may change their minds. Minor surgical procedures called a vasovasostomy, or a vasectomy reversal can help restore the transportation of sperm during ejaculation. During a successful vasovasostomy, the separated vas deferens will be reattached. As a result, this replenishes the flow of the sperm from the testes to the penis. However, these procedures will not guarantee fertility re-restoration. A successful outcome will largely depend on factors, such as the surgeon, the body’s adaptive responses and the time passed from the initial vasectomy. Rates of pregnancy after vasectomy reversal have been reported to be as high as 80%. If you have any doubts about your vasectomy, we advise you to talk with your specialist and GP as soon as possible.
Do you still ejaculate after a vasectomy?The ability to have an erection, organism, and ejaculation after vasectomy remains the same. When analysing the semen produced from a normal ejaculation, only 5% of this fluid will be made up of sperm. The rest of the semen is comprised of other substances, such as water, mucus and plasma. This is why candidates have reported that ejaculations will visibly appear quite similarly compared to pre-surgery.
When does a vasectomy begin to work?After a vasectomy is performed, it may take up to 20 ejaculations (from masturbation or sex) to clear the sperm from the vas deferens. A semen test can be performed after three months to determine whether the procedure has been successful. After this period, vasectomies are up to 99.9% effective, which means that the odds of becoming pregnant again is 1 in 1000. Should I get a vasectomy? Having a vasectomy is a significant decision that shouldn’t be taken lightly. Even though it is reversible, there is no guarantee that fertility can be fully restored. Additionally, like any surgical procedure, risks (albeit small) can occur. For example, younger individuals who have not had children may later regret whether being fertile is required later in life. On the other hand, older men with families not looking to have more children may find a vasectomy to be a suitable form of permanent contraception. Having a consultation with an experienced GP before booking a procedure is recommended. How much does a vasectomy cost? The cost of vasectomy will vary depending on several factors, including:
- Eligibility for Medicare rebate
- The location of the clinic
- The individual set prices of the clinic
- The level of health insurance coverage
- Preference of sedation
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