Vasectomy

What is a vasectomy?

A vasectomy is an operation to cut and seal off the tubes that carry your sperm from the testicles to the penis. Having a vasectomy means you will not be able to father any more children. A vasectomy is a permanent method of contraception that is sometimes called male sterilisation and means that other methods of contraception are no longer needed.

What does this involve?

The operation takes 15 to 30 minutes and is usually done as a day case under local anaesthetic to numb the area. Your surgeon will explain the benefits of having a vasectomy and discuss any risks and alternatives to the procedure.

You will usually walk to the operating theatre and you will be given injections of local anaesthetic under the skin on both sides of your scrotum. Once the anaesthetic has taken effect your surgeon will locate the tubes through the skin and make small cuts in both sides of the scrotum. Each exposed tube is cut, a small section is removed and the cut ends are sealed or tied. The cuts in the skin are closed using dissolvable stitches or adhesive strips.

When will I recover?

You should be able to go home the same day although your testicles will probably ache for the first few days.

You should be able to return to work after a couple of days although you may need a week off if your job involves a lot of physical activity.
About three months after the operation your doctor will ask you to give two samples of your semen a few weeks apart. The samples will be tested to ensure there is no sperm.

What risks should I know about?

Vasectomy is a commonly performed and generally safe procedure although all surgery does carry an element of risk. Possible complications of any surgery include excessive bleeding during or soon after the operation, infection, or an unexpected reaction to the anaesthetic It is possible for sperm to leak out of the cut tubes and collect in surrounding tissues. All of these complications can be easily treated.

Vasectomy is a very reliable method of contraception although there is a 1 in 2000 risk that your partner could still become pregnant.

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