November 23rd, 2015
A vasectomy procedure is a surgical procedure performed by a urologist, a surgeon with special training in conditions that affect the genitourinary tract. During a vasectomy, the surgeon blocks the tube that carries sperm from the testicles to the urethra. This tube is known as the vas deferens. The vasectomy procedure is intended to prevent conception, so it is considered a permanent form of birth control, or contraception. If you are considering this procedure, you should consult with an experienced urologist to discuss what you can expect from the operation. It is a personal decision that you may want to discuss with your sexual partner in any committed relationship, but a urologic surgeon can explain the risks and benefits of the procedure.
A vasectomy can often be performed in the urology clinic, but some surgeons and their patients prefer to have the procedure performed in an outpatient surgical facility or in a hospital. When you arrive for your procedure, you will sign a consent and the area of the surgery will be prepped by shaving the scrotal area and cleaning with an antiseptic solution. You may be asked to shave your scrotal area at home. Your urologist will numb the area of the procedure by injecting a small amount of a local anesthetic, and although you will not be completely numb, you should not feel any sharp pain. You will also be awake during the procedure, so you can alert your doctor to any pain.
Your doctor may perform a “no-scalpel” vasectomy. A no-scalpel vasectomy is performed with a special instrument that punctures the skin and allows the surgeon to lift the vas deferens out of the scrotum. The surgeon may block the vas deferens by cauterizing it with heat, cutting it, or tying it. This will prevent sperm from traveling through the vas deferens, preventing conception. The vas will then be replaced in the scrotum.
After your procedure, you should generally avoid vigorous activity or sexual activity for about a week. Your surgeon will tell you the best way to minimize any discomfort, usually by wearing a jockstrap or some type of support. Swelling can be reduced by use of an ice pack. Most men are able to return to work or normal activities the next day.
After a vasectomy, it will take several months to clear your ejaculate of sperm. It’s very important to wait for a sperm analysis before having unprotected sex, as approximately 20% of men still have some sperm in their semen as late as 3 months after a vasectomy procedure.
If you are considering a vasectomy procedure, call Dr. Elist today for a consultation.
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