Vasectomy is a procedure to prevent a man from reproducing. In other words, it is a form of permanent male contraception – although a reversal operation is a possibility in some cases.
What does it involve?
In normal male reproduction, sperm cells (which are made and stored in the testes) are combined with semen (the fluid produced from the seminal vesicles and the prostate) and carried through the urethra in the penis.
Male vasectomy is a simple procedure that prevents sperm from travelling from the testes to the penis by cutting and blocking the vas deferens – the tubes involved in this action. The remaining sperm in the testes is then absorbed into the body over time.
What changes can be noticed?
After a vasectomy you should not notice any changes, as it does not affect libido, the capacity to produce semen or male hormones, or the ability to have a normal sex life and to achieve orgasm and ejaculation. The only difference that occurs is that the semen does not contain reproductive sperm cells, which should not be noticeable.
In this case small incisions are made in the scrotum, the vas deferens are identified, and are then snipped and tied. The incisions are then closed with stitches.
No scalpel vasectomy:
This method is far less invasive, involving locating the vas deferens through the skin and making a tiny pointed incision. The vas are then cut and sealed, and there is no need for stitches. It can be done in as little as 5-10 minutes.
Both methods can be done with a local anaesthetic, although in some cases a general anaesthetic will be used.
What are the risks?
As for all surgery there are some risks involved, but the risk level is very low with the conventional method and even lower with a no-scalpel procedure. Possible complications include infection or bleeding, and in some cases prolonged groin-pain may be experienced, although this is very rare.
How successful is it?
As a method of contraception, vasectomy is very successful, although in rare cases sperm may still manage to travel across where the tubes have been cut. No vasectomy can be guaranteed 100% as a contraceptive. The chances of pregnancy following the procedure are around 1 in 1,000.
It’s also important to continue to use other forms of contraception after the operation. This is because there may still be some sperm cells in the upper part of the tubes and it can take several months for them to flush out. Contraception can only be discontinued once a test shows that the semen has a zero sperm count.
Sperm may continue to be made in the testes after vasectomy, but after a length of time production may be reduced or may cease. Once the production of sperm has ended, a reversal procedure will not be feasible.
You can find out more about vasectomy procedures by contacting a professional urologist in Sydney.