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Getting Started – What is a vasectomy?
The testicles produce sperm that travel through a tube called the vas deferens. The vas deferens or “vas” continues to travel through the prostate before joining with the vas on the other side to become the urethra, which exits through the penis.
The goal in a vasectomy is to block the right and left vas. In doing so, you will ejaculate semen without sperm. A man cannot make his partner pregnant without sperm!
What is a No-Scalpel Vasectomy?
In a no-scalpel vasectomy, the doctor locates the tubes under the skin and holds them in place with a small clamp. Instead of making two incisions, the doctor makes one tiny puncture with a special instrument. The same instrument is used to gently stretch the opening so the tubes can be reached. This line accurately represents the actual size of the puncture: | .
Through this tiny opening both tubes are temporarily lifted out and then blocked, using heat cauterization.
Studies have shown an eight times lower complication rate, quicker healing, and less intra-operative discomfort for a no-scalpel vasectomy compared to the more conventional approach using a scalpel.
No-Scalpel Vasectomy: Pulling out one of the two vas tubes
No-Scalpel Vasectomy: No stitches are needed to close the tiny opening
Conventional Vasectomy: Two moderate incisions stitched closed
When is the right time for vasectomy?
It is best to get a vasectomy when you and your partner are sure that you are happy with the number of children you have.
The stability of your relationship is also an important factor. It is possible that a new partner may want to have children.
If you have a child under six months of age, you might want to wait because of “Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)”, a condition where a child can die after a few months of life for no apparent reason.
This might possibly affect the timing of your plans for vasectomy. Age over six months is often considered the threshold at which SIDS is least likely to occur.
Should I store sperm?
Choosing to have a vasectomy is a serious decision because it is carried out with the intention of creating permanent sterility.
Our experience with patients over the years has shown that a significant number of men who opt for a vasectomy later change their minds about their desire to have children. Reasons for this include death of a spouse, death of a child, divorce, separation, or just changing their minds. That is why we encourage everyone to consider sperm storage.
Scrotal hematoma which is where a major bleed into the scrotum causing a grapefruit sized tender scrotum that could be disabling for two months (1-2%).
Infection requiring antibiotics, although more serious infection such as an abscess formation is possible requiring intravenous antibiotics (1-2%).
Congestive epididymitis resulting in swelling of the epididymis, which is where sperm is normally stored (1-3%). This almost invariably resolves with anti-inflammatories, ice and rest.
Sperm granuloma is a lump made of leaked sperm that develops at the site where the tube was blocked. Sometimes this can become painful (1-2%). It also almost invariably resolves with anti-inflammatories, ice and rest or may require a local steroid injection.
Chronic post-vasectomy discomfort is a rare complication of pain in the scrotum that can persist for months or years and may interfere with quality of life. Medical or surgical therapy such as vasectomy reversal can be effective, but not always, in improving this pain (1-2%).
Re-canalization is a rare outcome for men who develop a channel for sperm flow after a vasectomy. It can occur early during the healing phase (1%), or late (months or years after semen has been declared sperm free after two samples (0.05%) resulting in an unintended pregnancy. The odds of the latter occurring is still far less than on any other form of birth control including tubal ligation.
Vasovagal reaction is a reaction where in rare cases some men feel faint minutes to hours after the procedure. While most men can drive themselves home, some men may feel more comfortable bringing a designated driver (<1%).
*all statistics from the American Urology Association Vasectomy Guidelines
Are there any long-term health risks associated with vasectomy?
No. There are no proven long-term health risks (cancer or cardiovascular disease) associated with vasectomy. The risks of NOT having a vasectomy, however, are real and should be taken serious by those who choose to avoid vasectomy, including the risks of hormonal contraceptives (blood clots, significant adverse reactions etc.), pregnancy (miscarriage, ectopic, hyperemesis, gestational diabetes etc.), and childbirth (vaginal laceration, stretch marks, hemorrhage etc.).
To understand what happens during a no-scalpel vasectomy procedure, review this diagram to see how the male anatomy normally functions. The testicles produce sperm that travel through a pair of tubes called the vasa deferens. You can easily feel them through the scrotal skin, like firm spaghetti-sized tubes on either side of the penis. These tubes carry sperm from the testicles out through the penis when a man ejaculates.
The vasectomy procedure simply interrupts the flow of sperm by cutting the sperm tubes and blocking their ends. Before making the decision to have your NSV, please review the preparations, procedure, and recovery to see what you can expect from Pollock Clinics and your NSV from start to finish. We want you to make a careful and well informed choice. A vasectomy should be considered a permanent contraception.
Important message for men less than 35 years old with less than 2 kids
Please consider the following:
Vasectomy should be considered permanent and non-reversible as reversals are not guaranteed.
You may regret your decision one day. Younger men especially those in their 20s with fewer than 2 children are most likely to seek a reversal in the future often citing that they thought it was the right decision at the time only to be disappointed when their reversal procedure was unsuccessful.
Men change. Many men are often totally convinced that they do not want kids. In our experience, many men develop a different attitude about having kids as they get older and their life situation changes.
Woman also change. Many women say they do not want kids only to change their minds as their maternal instincts kick in as they grow older and they see their friends all having children. Some who have had bad reactions to pregnancy feel they would never want to go through another pregnancy only to change their minds after a few years.
Relationships fail. More than 40-50% of relationships in North America end in divorce. Despite how stable our relationships may seem, there is a chance that in a few years, you may be with a different partner who may have a strong or stronger desire to have kids than you.
Sperm storage. Young men should consider storing sperm. Imagine meeting the love of your life years after your vasectomy. You may change your attitude about having children or she may have no children or want to have children with you. At least you can tell her that you made a responsible decision at the time and had the good foresight to store sperm.
How do I book an appointment?
After you have made your decision, you may book online or just call us to get started. We look forward to speaking with you.