A vasectomy is a simple procedure where the vas deferens (vas) the is cut to cause sterilisation in a male.
The vas is a tube that carries sperm from the testicles where it is made to the penis. On the way sperm is joined by semen so your ejaculate contains both sperm and semen. Sperm makes up a very small percentage (less than 5%). Because we are only stopping sperm being made most men will not notice any change in the volume of their ejaculate after a vasectomy.
We do everything we can to reduce the rate of complications but all surgical procedures have risks you should be aware of. A full list of potential complications are outlined fully in your consent form.
After your vasectomy most men will notice some level of:
- Bruising: You may notice some bruising in the days after your vasectomy but this will usually disappear after about a week
- Mild pain and swelling: This commonly settles a few days after your procedure
Less common potentials complications include:
- A scrotal haematoma: This is a large bruise within the scrotum. You can reduce your chance of getting a haematoma greatly by following our instructions regarding lifting heavy objects in the days after the procedure. If you work in a job that requires heavy lifting make sure you get some time off work or ask for light duties
- Infection: We try to reduce the chance of you getting an infection by adhering to strict infection control protocol. Most infections are mild and be treated with oral antibiotics.
- Post Vasectomy Pain Syndrome (PVPS): This complication that can occur anytime after a vasectomy. There is little agreement on what causes PVPS. In most cases pain will resolve eventually but in rare cases specialist review and even additional surgery or reversal may be required to attempt to resolve the problem. These procedures are not always successful
If you have children we will perform a vasectomy for men aged 18 and over. If you do not have any children you must be at least 25 years of age, and men aged 25 – 29 and no children : must still have a phone consult with our Doctor no less than 14 days before surgery.
There are a couple of ways to categorise the procedure methods
1. Traditional Vs No-Scalpel
The traditional method involves using a scalpel to make an incision on each side of the scrotum to access the vas.
The No-scalpel method uses blunt dissection and usually only involves one hole being made through which the vas from both sides is accessed. The no-scalpel vasectomy technique results in lower complication rates such as bruising and bleeding.
2. Open-ended Vs Closed-ended
The open ended technique means that the end of the vas attached to the testicle is left open. Why does this matter? Well after a vasectomy the testicle is going to continue to make sperm and this sperm needs to go somewhere. By allowing it to be released into the scrotum we reduce the incidence of “congestion” or the feeling of pressure from sperm backing up (think of a kinked hose with the tap running).
The closed-ended technique means the testicular end of the vas is clamped with a suture or a clip.
To prepare for your vasectomy please following these instructions:
1. Cease any blood thinning medication at least 7 days prior your procedure. You may wish to discuss this with your GP or specialist. If you are unsure please call 1800 SNIPME (1800 764 763) or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
2. On the morning of your procedure, please shave your scrotum with a razor as per the picture below:
It is better to shave more rather than less, so if you are in doubt about how much to take off, shave it all.
3. Make sure you have some time off work planned if you have a physical job, or you have arranged light duties with no heavy lifting (any lifting that involves straining) for 7 days after your procedure.
4. Please read and sign our electronic consent form which will be sent via SMS to your phone 3 days before your procedure.
Titanium clips are used to hold the two ends of the vas deferens apart once it has been cut. We have chosen to use the titanium clips as they help control any bleeding and because they cause very little inflammation or discomfort during the recovery period. The titanium clip will stay in your body forever but they are very small and they are not detectable on MRI or in airport security. I have not had any patients complain that they could feel that clip as they get very quickly settled within the tissue of the scrotum after your Vasectomy.
If you would prefer not to have a clip you may request we use an absorbable suture. The suture can cause more bleeding and sometimes a little bit more discomfort as it absorbs over the weeks following your procedure but it will completely disappear after a couple of months
Please note that Dr Valentine and Dr Kalau do not use clips and routinely use absorbable sutures. Dr Cashion and Dr Sheehan will use clips unless otherwise requested.
Like any minor surgical procedure, there are risks of bruising, discomfort and infection. These are generally mild, and can be minimised by resting, and wearing supportive underpants for a few days after the operation.
Simple measures such as frozen peas wrapped in a tea towel is a useful first measure, combined with paracetamol and/or Ibuprofen.
If your work is very physical and involves heavy lifting or extreme movement, then you will need to go on light duties for a week after the vasectomy.
If you are desk based or quite sedentary in your work, then you should be able to return to work the day after having your vasectomy.
Try to avoid sitting for long periods, but avoid bike riding and contact sports for the first 2-3 weeks.
It is normal to experience a background aching feeling for one to two weeks post-vasectomy. It will eventually go away. Take Paracetamol ( with or without a little codeine) as required. If aching continues for over one month, you may be experiencing Post-Vasectomy Pain Syndrome and you should see us or your GP for a review. If there are no signs of infection, you can use anti-inflammatory medication (if no contraindications to taking this) for a week or two, which will help settle it down.
The vasectomy procedure does not work immediately and you must consider yourself fertile until we tell you that it was a success. We request you do a semen analysis at 3 months to confirm you are sterile. This will give you plenty of time to “clean out the pipes”!
If you are asking yourself this question, you should really think twice about getting a vasectomy.
Yes, vasectomies can be reversed. But you should consider this procedure as permanent contraception. Reversals are not 100%, very expensive (worth of $5000) and are not covered by Medicare.
This term is mentioned quite a bit but the reality is laser vasectomy does not exist. Some vasectomists (including myself) use a hyfrecator to cut the vas which is what some may be thinking of. For more information on this topic click here.