Vasectomy - Your Treatment Explained
Your GP has referred you to see a consultant surgeon at Cooden Medical Group about having a vasectomy. This booklet tells you all you need to know preparing for your appointment, what to expect on the day, and how to look after yourself following your vasectomy.
Please note that it is possible to have a vasectomy with Cooden Medical under the NHS.
If you have any questions - before or after your appointment please call a member of our team at The Cooden Clinic on 01424 846190
What is a Vasectomy?
A vasectomy, or male sterilisation, is a quick and relatively painless procedure by which a small section of the tubes (vas deferens) that carry sperm from a man’s testicles to the penis are cut, blocked or sealed with heat. This is to prevent sperm from reaching the semen that is ejaculated from a man’s penis during sex.
The procedure is normally carried out under local anaesthetic, which means you will be awake for your outpatient procedure, meaning that you will normally be able to return home shortly after the procedure. Vasectomy is considered a permanent or an irreversible procedure, because although the procedure can be reversed it may not be successful.
What are the benefits of a vasectomy?
A man may choose to have a vasectomy if he does not want more children or has decided not to have any at all. It may be chosen as a simpler, safer and more reliable alternative to female sterilisation. The consultant will ask about your circumstances, and provide information and counselling as to whether this is the appropriate option for you.
The other main form of contraception for men is condoms.
What are the possible side effects?
Following a vasectomy, complications are rare, however, in some cases, a vasectomy can cause serious problems as outlined below.
Significant bleeding (haematoma) inside the scrotum: this can cause the scrotum to become very swollen and painful. In severe cases further surgery may be required.
Sperm granulomas: sperm can leak from the site where the tubes were cut and can collect in the surrounding tissues, forming hard lumps known as sperm granulomas. The groin or scrotum may become painful and swollen either immediately or a few months after the procedure. The lumps are not normally painful and can often be treated using anti-inflammatory medication which can be prescribed by a GP. If the granulomas are particularly large or painful they may require surgical removal.
Infection: after a vasectomy there is the risk of developing an infection as a result of bacteria entering through the incision (cuts) made in the scrotum. It is important to keep the genital area clean and dry to minimise the risk of infection.
Long-term testicular pain: some men get pain in one or both of their testicles after the vasectomy. It can happen immediately, a few months or a few years after the operation. The pain may be occasional, frequent and vary from a constant dull ache to episodes of sharp, intense pain. However, for most men, the pain is quite mild and further help is not required.
Full feeling in the testicles: after a vasectomy some men may develop the feeling that their testicles are ‘fuller’ than normal. This is usually caused by the epididymis (coiled tube that rests on the back of each testicle, that helps to transport and store sperm) becoming filled with stored sperm. Any such feelings should pass naturally within a few weeks - a GP should be contacted if the feeling of fullness continues after this time.
Fertility: in a very small number of cases the vas deferens reconnects over a period of time. This means that the vasectomy is no longer an effective form of contraception, however, it is rare for this to happen.
Other points to note:
A vasectomy has no effect on sex drive and the ability to enjoy sex. You will still have erections and ejaculate normally. The only difference is that your semen does not contain sperm.
A vasectomy does not protect against HIV infection and any other sexually transmitted infection. With any new partner you should protect yourself by using condoms.
Please tell your surgeon (before your surgery) if you have any of the following:
- An artificial heart valve
- A coronary artery stent
- A heart pacemaker or defibrillator
- An artificial joint
- An artificial blood-vessel graft
- A neurosurgical shunt
- Any other implanted foreign body
- A regular prescription for blood thinning medication such as warfarin, aspirin or clopidogrel (Plavix®)
- A previous or current MRSA infection
- A high risk of variant-CJD (if you have had a corneal transplant, a neurosurgical dural transplant or injections of human-derived growth hormone).
Before you leave home
It’s a good idea to have a bath or shower, but there is no need to shave or trim hair around the area.
We also advise that you wear close fitting pants or swimming trunks rather than boxer shorts or a thong. This will offer you more support and be more comfortable after your procedure.
We advise that you are accompanied home and do not drive yourself.
What happens at the Cooden Clinic?
You can expect to be at The Cooden Clinic for about one hour. When you arrive you will be greeted by our receptionist who will register your arrival. You may have had a telephone consultation prior to your appointment or you may be having a consultation on the day of your procedure. Either way, we will ensure that the vasectomy procedure is explained in as much detail as you need and we will answer any questions you may have. You will be advised about how to look after yourself following your vasectomy and given information regarding your semen samples. We will also ensure we have a thorough medical history.
Your consultation is a chance for you to ask any questions at all, however small they may seem.
Your partner is most welcome to come with you to the clinic. Unfortunately it is not possible for companions, including partners and spouses to accompany you into the treatment area or be with you during the procedure. This is to ensure that the medical team are not distracted from your care.
We understand that you may be feeling nervous and apprehensive. Our team members are there for you, so please let them know if you have any questions or worries, no matter what they are.
Your vasectomy will be performed by an experienced doctor. A nurse will also accompany you throughout. You will have a pre-operative examination to ensure that the doctor can locate the vas deferens (sperm carrying tubes).
You will have an anaesthetic injection to numb the area and the doctor will make a very small incision to detect and seal the sperm carrying tube (vas deferens). No stitches are needed. The procedure should take about 10 to 15 minutes.
We cannot, however, make the procedure completely painless. The act of picking up the tubes cause a variable degree of discomfort. This may make you feel slightly sick, sweaty or light-headed.
You will relax at the centre for about half an hour after the procedure and refreshments will be provided.
Your nurse or doctor will have a chat with you before you leave, to make sure you feel well enough to go home and understand the aftercare information. You will also be given an aftercare information pack to take home with you.