Vasectomy is a male form of contraception which is very safe. It is usually performed under either local anaesthesia or general anaesthesia. Prior to any planned vasectomy patients should be advised that they should consider other contraceptive means.
Patients are also advised during a vasectomy consultation that there is a failure of the procedure which may be early failure, where motile sperm is found within the sperm test after surgery. In these instances the surgery would usually need to be re-done.
In other cases there is a spontaneous re-cannalisation where the sperm tubes can join up in possibly 1 : 2,500, but overall is a very safe technique. The other risks of surgery are bleeding, infection and bruising, which generally occurs in less than 5% of patients. On occasions it may take quite some time before the sperm disappears from the ejaculation, and this is a phenomenon known as ‘rare non-motile sperm’.
Patients are advised used to give a sperm test at 14 and 16 weeks following vasectomy. If the sperm tubes (vas deferens) are easily felt the procedure can be performed under local anaesthesia as a day case. In some cases where the sperm tubes are difficult to feel or the patient has needle-phobia, then the vasectomy can be performed under general anaesthetic.
However, circumstances can change, and some people do later wish to try and have more children. Here, Mr Suks Minhas, a vasectomy and vasectomy reversal specialist, outlines some of the key points.
Mr Minhas performs a micro-surgical vasectomy reversal using an operating microscope and has extensive experience of this technique. The procedure takes up to 3 hours to perform. In some instances a micro-surgical vasectomy reversal is not possible and a more complex procedure called a vaso-epididostomy is necessary which Mr Minhas can also perform at the same time. While performing vasectomy reversal, Mr Minhas is able to retrieve sperm directly from testes (TESE), which can be frozen as a back-up if the vasectomy reversal is not successful.
Due to the length of the anaesthetic procedure we normally advise patients that they should stay overnight in hospital, although some centres will do this as a day case, or alternatively under sedation. Using very fine suture material, which is not visible to the naked eye, the two ends of the vas deferens are joined up under the microscope. Patients should be aware that they need to take one week off to recover following such surgery.
1: Can you reverse a vasectomy?
2: Are there any risks involved?
3: What is the recovery time?
Rest and painkillers can help with the initial soreness, along with wearing close-fitting underwear for at least the first 24 hours – although some men find it useful to carry on with this until the discomfort and swelling reduce entirely, which may take up to a few weeks.
4: How soon can you have sex after a vasectomy reversal?
5: What is the vasectomy reversal success rate?
6: What options are there for getting pregnant if a vasectomy reversal doesn’t work?