Vasectomy – An Overview
A vasectomy is one of the most effective permanent birth control method for men and works by preventing the release of sperm during ejaculation.
This procedure involves blocking (clamping) the vas deferens from each testicle, or it is sealed using other methods which prevents the sperm from mixing with the semen as it is ejaculated from the penis. Although the production of sperm in the testicles in not stopped it gets re-absorbed by the body if not ejaculated.
Vasectomy surgery is performed to stop the release of the sperm from the testicles and mixing into the semen to cause pregnancy. This requires the surgeon to administer general anesthesia to the patient in order to avoid discomfort and pain during the procedure.
The surgeon will clean the testicles with an anti-septic solution and possibly shave them as well. The surgeon will locate both the vas deferens by touch in the testicles and a local anesthetic will be injected in the scrotum.
The surgeon will make one or two small incisions in the scrotum and use these incisions to cut the vas deferens tubes. The two remaining ends of the vas deferens tubes are tied together or sealed using sutures. The surgeon may also choose to perform an electro-cauterization to seal the tubes with heat energy. The scar tissue developing after the surgery also acts as an additional barrier for the sperm to pass through into the semen. The surgeon then will shift the vas deferens inside the scrotum and close the incisions using fine dissolvable stitches.
This procedure lasts for around 20-30 minutes and can be performed in a clinic as well by an experienced family doctor or urologist or even a general surgeon.
There are a few different methods applied to perform a vasectomy, such as:
- Minimally Invasive Non-Scalpel Vasectomy – This form of vasectomy surgery requires the surgeon to use a device with a small clamp with a pointy end. The surgeon will insert the pointy-end clamp directly into the skin of the scrotum, instead of using a scalpel to make an incision for entry into the scrotum. This procedure is more advantageous due to less bleeding, smaller incisions required as well as fewer complications arising from the surgery.
- Vasclip Implant Procedure – This vasectomy surgery type involves using a medical device, called as a ‘Vasclip’ to close (block) the vas deferens. This surgery does not require the surgeon to use sutures or cauterizing (using heat or other medium) for blocking the vas deferens tube. This helps to reduce the risks of complications to a large extent.
Recovery after a Vasectomy
After a vasectomy the patient might feel numbness in the scrotum as the anesthesia wears off for a couple of hours. Ice packs are advised to be applied to the scrotum and allow the body to rest as much as possible the following day after the surgery.
The patient might experience mild swelling and minor pain the scrotum for a few days after surgery, but with precautions the patient is usually ready to get back to normal activity by the 3rd day after a vasectomy.
Sexual intercourse is advised after the sperm count is down to zero and the activity is not discomforting, usually after a week.
Need for Vasectomy
A vasectomy is one of the most effective permanent male birth-control methods available. This surgery is advised only if you do not plan on having a baby in the future.
Risks associated with Vasectomy
As is seen in any surgical procedure, vasectomy also carries the risks of rare complications that might arise, such as:
- Subcutaneous hemorrhage (bleeding under the skin)
- Infections at incision site
- Sperm leaking from blocked vas deferens into the surrounding tissue and forming sperm granuloma (small lumps)
- Inflammation of the sperm-supplying tubes in the testicles
- Re-canalization (vas deferens tubes joining together)
Advantages & Drawbacks of a Vasectomy procedure
These are the advantages of a Vasectomy procedure:
- This is a permanent and effective method of male birth-control
- It is less expensive, more safe and causes fewer complications then a similar female birth-control method (such as tubal ligation)
- This permanent birth-control surgery is a one-time cost but it avoids the expense of other birth-control methods, such as contraceptive pills and condoms in the future which is a considerable advantage
These are a few drawbacks that are related to a Vasectomy:
- This surgery is not a protection against STDs (sexually transmitted diseases), such as HIV
- This surgery is a permanent male birth-control solution and should not be considered if you plan on having a baby in the future
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