Vasectomy is the most effective form of permanent contraception. This minor procedure consists of the cutting and sealing of the vas deferens tubes, which are responsible for transporting sperm to the prostate for ejaculation. The testes will continue to produce sperm, but it will be absorbed back into the body soon after production and will not be present in semen. However, it can take up to three months post-surgery before the patient is completely sterile. This is due to sperm lingering within the various tubes of the penile anatomy and may require upwards of twenty ejaculations to ensure complete sterility.
The vasectomy operation is an out-patient procedure and can be performed right in the surgeon’s office. The duration of the surgery is normally fifteen to twenty minutes and requires only local anesthesia. If employed at a desk job, the patient can return to work within one or two days. If they are a manual laborer, a longer period of time will be needed. Mild sensitivity an swelling of the scrotum can occur during this period, although the situation will improve rapidly. It is important to note that sexual activity can still produce a pregnancy at this time. A follow-up sperm count test is recommended after two months to ensure sterility as well as occasionally a second testing one month afterwards to confirm it.
This procedure has very few side effects. There is always a risk for infection and bleeding when an incision is made, but the small size of the cut needed for a vasectomy ensures minimal occurrence. It is possible for sperm to leak into the tissue of the scrotum after surgery and may cause a small lump (sperm granuloma). This usually clears up on its own, but in rare cases may need to be surgically removed. A mans erections and libido is unaffected by surgery.
Vasectomy is often compared to the female equivalent, tubal ligation. In almost every respect, tubal ligation is more risky and less efficient than vasectomy. The procedure costs more and carries the possibility for many complications during and after surgery. The only instance in which tubal ligation could be considered superior to vasectomy would be when it is performed in conjunction with the delivery of a newborn by cesarean section.