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Vasectomies: The Methods, Risks, and Benefits
A vasectomy is a surgical method of sterilization for men. The procedure is a common form of permanent birth control or sterilization among men because of its effectiveness, relatively low cost, and quick recovery time.
Different Methods of a Vasectomy and Cost
The aim of a vasectomy is to prevent a man from impregnating a woman by preventing sperm from releasing during ejaculation.
There are various methods doctors may use to perform a vasectomy. No matter the method, each one seals off the vas deferens in the man’s reproductive system. It may be sealed off by being cut, tied, or clamped. The vas deferens is a small tube where sperm can pass from the testicles to the urethra during ejaculation. Sperm is still produced by the testicles, but instead of being ejaculated, it is absorbed by the body.
A vasectomy procedure takes approximately half an hour. Vasectomies can be done at a doctor’s office and do not require general anesthesia or a hospital stay.
You will be prepped for the procedure beforehand. You will have your scrotum and testicles cleaned and disinfected. They might be shaved as well. Most doctors offer you the option of being administered anti-anxiety and pain oral or IV medications. Your doctor will feel the area to locate the vas deferens, and whether you accept the medications or not, you will still receive a numbing injection to the area so you will not feel anything during the procedure.
There are different ways your doctor may go about doing your vasectomy. Some doctors will offer you a choice of which method you would like to have, while other doctors only perform one type of the procedure.
The most traditional vasectomy procedure is through one or two small incisions in the scrotum. This procedure includes the vas deferens being cut, then the ends being sealed off either by cauterization, being tied, or stitched. The tube would then be placed back properly inside the scrotum, and the incisions would be stitched closed with dissolving stitches that would not need to be removed later.
Another method of vasectomy is by using a Vasclip implant. With this procedure, a clip is placed around the vas deferens, blocking sperm from being released during ejaculation. With this procedure the vas deferens does not need to be cut in any way. Vasclip is not a commonly used method of vasectomy. Studies have shown it is more likely to fail than other methods. The Vasclip could fall off, resulting in unwanted pregnancies. It could also not entirely block sperm. Pros of Vasclip is that is has been proven to have faster healing time and fewer complications than other methods.
A No Scalpel vasectomy is just as the name suggests, it doesn’t require a scalpel. This method of vasectomy does still require a tiny opening, though. During a No Scalpel procedure your doctor will usually feel to find the vas deferens, and hold it in place on the outside with a clamp. Then an instrument is used to create a tiny opening in the scrotum from which the vas deferens can be brought outside of the body. When the vas deferens is outside, it can then be tied, cut, stitched, cauterized, or otherwise sealed. The vas deferens is placed back inside the scrotum. Because the opening is so tiny, no stitches are required with this procedure. Benefits include a faster recovery, and minimal pain and bruising.
No matter the type of vasectomy, on average they cost between $300-$1,000. Cost can vary depending on various factors such as the independent doctor, location, and which procedure is performed. The traditional vasectomy method tends to be the cheaper option.
Without sperm, an egg cannot be fertilized, making a vasectomy an effective form of permanent birth control. When the vas deferens is cut off or otherwise sealed, there is no physical way for sperm to be ejaculated, so a man cannot get a woman pregnant in any way.
A vasectomy should be seriously considered because the results are permanent and cannot be reversed in most cases. Even when reversal is attempted, it is not effective in majority of cases.
A vasectomy is not right away effective. It can take up to three months for a vasectomy to become fully effective. Even though the vas deferens has been sealed off, sperm that has been in the testicles may still be in the vas deferens. You will likely have to have around twenty ejaculations before your semen is clear of sperm. Until you can get two samples of sperm free semen, you should wear condoms to prevent pregnancy.
Risks and Side Effects of Vasectomies
As with any type of surgical procedure, there are risks to a vasectomy.
● Possible risks and future problems that could develop include:
● High grade fever
● Bleeding at the incision site
● Swelling and/or pain
● Heavy bruising of the area
● Mild to severe pain in the testicles
● Decrease in libido
● Granuloma under the skin at surgical site
● Hematomas (swollen areas full of blood)
● Hydroceles (swollen areas of fluid)
Most risks that arise with vasectomies are uncommon and can be treated easily.
Recovery Time, Resuming Activities, and Sex
The recovery time from a vasectomy is fairly fast. Each man has their own individual recovery time, lasting on average from 2-5 days. Some men are able to return to work the same day, while others take a few days.
After surgery you can expect mild pain and swelling. You will be instructed by your doctor to get plenty of fluids, rest, and relaxation. You may need to use an ice pack for swelling and pain. You might also be instructed to wear tight or snug fitting underwear to support the scrotum for optimal healing.
For at least a week you should avoid exercise and other strenuous activities. If you have a manual labor job, you may need to discuss with your doctor when you can return to work.
It is generally recommended you wait two weeks to resume having sex.
Millions of men have undergone a vasectomy, with over a million men worldwide getting vasectomies each year. Overall, a vasectomy is a simple and highly effective means of permanent birth control.