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Posts for category: Vasectomy

Convincing a man that a vasectomy is a simple surgery with lasting results can be a difficult sell. However, it’s the honest truth. The procedure, which can be performed in your doctor’s office, is relatively painless and quick. It only takes about 40 minutes and is much less invasive and uncomfortable for a man than it is for a woman to receive a tubal ligation. It’s also less expensive and offers the possibility that it can be reversed.

While the fact seem clear, convincing your partner might be a challenge, but presenting the details that are involved with a vasectomy will help in determining whether or not the procedure is the best choice of birth control for you and your partner. If you do hope to talk to your partner about getting a vasectomy, here are some talking points to jump start the conversation.

What is a vasectomy and is it effective?

Vasectomy is a permanent form of birth control in which the two tubes that transfer sperm are snipped and sealed. When the vas deferens are sealed and snipped, sperm is blocked so that it isn’t ejaculated along with semen. Testicles continue to manufacture sperm following a vasectomy, but the body absorbs them. Less than three women in a thousand will get pregnant following their partner’s vasectomy making it the most effective form of birth control, that is, aside from abstinence.

How many men choose vasectomy as a form of birth control?

There is strength in numbers. It may be comforting to know that in the United States 500,000 men choose to have a vasectomy every year.

What to Expect

A man will visit a doctor’s office for the procedure, though a vasectomy may also be performed in a hospital. The procedure will be completed under local anesthesia after the scrotum is cleaned and shaved. The scrotum will receive a small scalpel cut by the urologist, but not more than one or two. The tubes are gently pulled through the cuts to be snipped, then tied and sealed with heat. Once the vas deferens are snipped and sealed, they are then placed back inside the scrotum and the small cuts on the scrotum are stitched closed. The patient won’t have to have the stitches removed by a doctor; the stitches will dissolve.

What does the recovery period look like?

Following the surgery, the patient’s scrotum will be numb. Cold packs and over-the-counter pain medication will help to relieve the discomfort. It is recommended that the patient wear tight underwear or a jockstrap to ease any pain. Discomfort can last a few days following the procedure. Avoid lifting heavy objects for a week, however, if desired you may return to work within a day or two.

Does this procedure affect an erection?

The after effects of a vasectomy, in regards to sexual performance, are generally unchanged. With most vasectomies, there are no problems with erection.

How long before we can be sexually active?

There’s no time restriction on when sexual activity may resume; it totally depends on how comfortable the patient is. Know however that sperm may remain in the semen and it’s still possible to become pregnant. Semen is free of sperm up to three months following surgery, though this may vary from one man to the other. Your urologist will test your sperm count. When the sperm count is zero, it is safe for the patient to engage in sexual activity without the use of additional birth control.

What can we expect, permanence-wise?

A vasectomy is a birth control method that is considered to be permanent, though the procedure can be reversed. Still, there are no promises that the reversal will be a success and that pregnancy will be possible following surgery. It is very important that a couple is absolutely certain concerning the decision to have a vasectomy.

Dr. Jeffrey Steinberg of Urology Specialists of Milford is a preeminent urologist in New England. Board certified and Harvard trained, he has been practicing urology since 1992. Dr. Steinberg treats general urological disorders in both men and women, including kidney stones and cancer. As a men’s health expert, he treats prostate enlargement, male sexual dysfunction, and male infertility. Dr. Steinberg is a recipient of the 2017 Castle Connelly “Top Doctor’s Award” and has a 5-star rating on Health Grades.

To make an appointment with Dr. Steinberg, please call (508) 473-6333. We look forward to welcoming you to our practice.

For couples who don’t want children, or whose families are complete, a vasectomy is a reliable and effective means of birth control. It is a permanent solution with 99.85 percent efficacy – a near guarantee against unwanted pregnancies. 

That said, both partners in a relationship may have concerns about the vasectomy process and its subsequent physical and emotional effects on their sex life and relationship. The following frequently asked questions (and answers) should help clarify doubts and provide information before you make this very important decision. 

What is a Vasectomy?

A vasectomy is a safe and effective method of permanent birth control for men. It is an outpatient surgery that renders a man sterile. The vas deferens – tubes carrying sperm from the testicles – are cut, stitched and sealed. Thus, sperm is blocked from being ejaculated in the semen, preventing conception. 

Does a Vasectomy Hurt?

The outpatient procedure is conducted under anesthesia, usually local. You may feel a sensation of pulling on your scrotum. Post-procedure, there may be some swelling, bruising and mild discomfort for up to a week.

How Effective is a Vasectomy?

Vasectomies are more than 99 percent effective. It is one of the most foolproof forms of birth control. A vasectomy “fails” very rarely, when the ends of the vas deferens reattach, allowing pregnancy. Only one to two women out of every 1,000 has reported a pregnancy in the first year after their partner had a vasectomy.

Are Vasectomies Immediately Effective?

Vasectomies are not immediately effective. Sperm may remain in the tubes and be carried out in the ejaculate. It may take a few months and 15-20 ejaculations before that sperm is completely ejected or reabsorbed into the body.

During this time, a man remains fertile. Alternate methods of birth control are necessary until a man receives the all-clear after a sperm-count test (usually given three months post-procedure, and one every few weeks thereafter until a complete absence of sperm is noted). 

How Long Does Recovery Take?

Recovery time varies, but usually, any pain or soreness fades after a few days. Physical activities like exercise and lifting heavy objects could be resumed after a week, although you should consult with your doctor to be sure. Minor swelling, sensitivity, or discomfort in the scrotum may continue for up to two weeks.

Will a Vasectomy Affect My Sex Life?

There should not be any changes in your sex drive,  achieving or maintaining erections, ejaculating, or orgasms. No sex organs are removed or altered during a vasectomy, and the body continues producing male hormones after a vasectomy. Some men have reported an improved sex life after the procedure because the fear of pregnancy is no longer present during sex. 

Does a Vasectomy Affect Ejaculate?

Semen consists of sperm, and fluid from the seminal vesicles and the prostate gland. Sperm makes up only 2 to 5 percent of the ejaculate. A vasectomy is performed only on the vas deferens, not the seminal vesicles or prostate, so sperm is the only thing missing from the ejaculate. Removing sperm has little or no effect on ejaculate volume, appearance, color, or consistency. 

When Can Sexual Activity be Resumed?

Sexual activity may be resumed when the swelling and tenderness in the scrotum reduces – usually within a week.  

Are There Risks or Complications?

A vasectomy is a very low-risk procedure. Common, minor side effects include swelling, bruising or bleeding in the scrotum, bloody semen, or infection at the site of the incision. Sometimes the vas deferens leak sperm that forms lumps called granuloma, which may require medication or surgery.

There is no increased risk of prostate or testicular cancer after a vasectomy.

What are the Advantages of a Vasectomy over Tubal Ligation?

Tubal ligation is the tying of the fallopian tubes to prevent sperm from fertilizing an egg. It is a complex, inpatient procedure requiring hospitalization. Performed under general anesthesia, there’s a risk of complications such as the development of scar tissue and bleeding. Tubal litigation has a  longer recovery period (1 - 3 weeks or longer) than a vasectomy. 

A vasectomy is a much simpler 15- to 20-minute procedure performed in an ambulatory surgery center or doctor’s office using local anesthesia. Discomfort and side effects are minimal. 

What are the Advantages of a Vasectomy?

A vasectomy has many advantages:   

  • It offers lifelong protection for a one-time procedure
  • It is safe, simple, and quick
  • It has few risks and side effects
  • It saves money, as other repetitive birth control won’t be needed 

And the Reasons Against a Vasectomy?

The main reason against having a vasectomy is if you are unsure about having children in the future.  

A vasectomy may not be a good idea for men who have:  

  • A history of bleeding or blood disorders
  • Allergies or sensitivities to anesthetics (such as lidocaine or novocaine) or antibiotics
  • Skin conditions of the scrotum
  • Had past injury or surgery on the genitals
  • Recent or repeat urinary tract or genital infections

Does Insurance Cover Vasectomies?

Vasectomies are often covered by health insurance. Plan deductibles and co-insurances vary, so check with your insurance company first.

Can a Vasectomy be Reversed?

Vasectomies should be considered permanent, but reversal may be possible depending on the state of the vas deferens tubes, fluid samples, and time elapsed since the vasectomy. 

Two techniques are used in vasectomy reversal:

  • Vasovasostomy involves directly reattaching the severed ends of the vas deferens at the site of the vasectomy.
  • Vasoepididymostomy connects the vas deferens to the epididymis - the tube that connects a testicle to a vas deferens. 

At Urology Specialists of Milford, we understand that a vasectomy is a major life decision. We provide answers to a broad range of questions on the issue. For more information, call (508) 473-6333 to request an appointment with board-certified urologist Dr. Jeffrey Steinberg.

July 12, 2019
Category: Vasectomy
Tags: Birth Control   Vasectomy  

The decision to undergo a vasectomy shouldn’t be taken lightly. Talking it over with your partner can help resolve issues and concerns on both sides and ensure cooperation and support both before and after the procedure.

Consider that while you may not want children now, your life may take some unforeseen detours in the future, and your feelings may change. Additional factors to consider include the current and future state of your financial, personal, health, and relationship circumstances. Those who have decided to go this route should understand the benefits and risks involved.

In general, a vasectomy is a minimally invasive, permanent, and effective form of birth control for men. Couples who have decided not to have any more children may find a vasectomy to be a cost-effective choice for them.

A vasectomy is a straightforward procedure. Either a scalpel or no-scalpel technique is performed under anesthetic. The scrotum is cut, and the vas deferens (the tubes that carry sperm from the testicles to the urethra) are cut and closed, preventing sperm from passing from the testicles. It is a relatively minor surgery usually performed in a doctor’s office. The entire process takes about an hour, from preparation to completion; the actual tying of the tubes takes just 10 minutes.

Sperm production continues after a vasectomy, although the sperm is not released through ejaculation. Instead, sperm remains inside the testicles and are reabsorbed into the body.

Common Reasons for a Vasectomy

The most obvious reason for a vasectomy is to prevent an unplanned pregnancy, especially if alternative birth control methods are not appropriate or desirable.

For example, a medical condition may prevent your partner from taking certain birth control medications, or you may wish to spare your partner a tubal litigation, which is an invasive, complicated and dangerous surgery that carries a higher risk and failure rate than a vasectomy.

But vasectomies may be undergone for reasons other than not wanting (anymore) children, including that a pregnancy may be dangerous or even life-threatening for your partner, or to avoid passing on a hereditary disease, genetic disorder, or disability.

Benefits of Undergoing a Vasectomy

Affordable. A vasectomy is relatively easy on the wallet, even if not covered by insurance. Vasectomies cost about $1,000 to $2,000 and insurance will likely cover some of that cost.         

Effective. Vasectomies carry a less-than-1-percent failure rate. That’s more effective than condoms, birth control pills, or other prophylactic methods. When compared with tubal ligation or other surgical methods, a vasectomy is generally the most effective. Only 1 in 2,000 men who have undergone the procedure report failure. If you are worried about it, annual semen exams may help put your mind to rest.

Low Risk. All surgeries carry some risk, but because vasectomies are minimally invasive and usually uncomplicated, there is only a 2 to 3 percent chance of infection, bleeding, or pain. Ten percent of men experience pain resulting from the accumulation of sperm before the vasectomy. Studies have determined there is no significant risk of prostate or testicular cancer following a vasectomy.

Quick Recovery. Getting back on your feet after the procedure is relatively quick and simple. Seven to 10 days is the standard time for full recovery.

Reversible. Although it is technically true that the process can be reversed, it should only be used as a last resort. Vasectomies are considered a permanent procedure. Undergoing a vasectomy reversal is costly and may not be 100 percent successful. Insurance rarely covers a vasectomy reversal. If you want a vasectomy but think you may still want kids in the future, freezing your sperm before the surgery is an option.

Sexual Function Remains. In the absence of any other complications, the sexual function continues as normal because the procedure does not involve the penis and there is no change in a man’s hormone production levels as a result of a vasectomy. As a birth control choice, a vasectomy simplifies sex and can make it feel more spontaneous and liberating.

To learn more about vasectomies, call Urology Specialists of Milford at (508) 473-6333or simply go online to request an appointment with Dr. Jeffrey Steinberg.

Becoming a parent is a long-term commitment. Most people love having kids, and some may ask the question, how did you end up with so many kids? OK, maybe it’s just one or possibly two, but for some, that may still feel like a lot. If you’re ready to be done with 2am feedings and panic attacks about being able to put them through school and college, or just feel like you are content with the size of your family, it might be time to start talking about the “V” word: Vasectomy. There are reasons why men want to receive a vasectomy, considering it is a minimally invasive, cost-effective, and effective form of birth control.

Snip, snip. Research has shown that about 500,000 men choose vasectomy as a form of permanent birth control annually in the United States. For some men, a vasectomy is believed to be the best option to guarantee that they will not have any more children. However, a vasectomy is first and foremost considered a permanent procedure.

What is A Vasectomy?

During vasectomy, the tubes that provide sperm to mix with semen are interrupted, or “snipped”. In the male reproductive system, there are two tubes that are responsible for carrying sperm to the epididymis, where the semen is stored prior to ejaculation. These are called the vas deferens. 

Simply, a vasectomy is a procedure that makes a man permanently unable to get a woman pregnant, because the vas deferens are cut or blocked. While the body can still make sperm after a vasectomy, sperm can no longer get into the semen and is absorbed by the body. Therefore, if a man ejaculates into the women’s vagina, they will not be able to conceive a child any longer. Only about one or two out of 1,000 couples get pregnant the first year after a vasectomy.

A vasectomy is performed as an outpatient procedure in the doctor’s office under local anesthesia and takes approximately 30 minutes. During the actual procedure, the doctor will apply a local anesthetic to numb the scrotum, where the testes are. After you’re numb, a very small incision or hole will be made on one side of your scrotum to pull out part of the vas deferens and seal the tube with tiny sutures.

With today’s evolving medical technology, vasectomies can now be reversed if a couple decides they would actually like to have children. Truth is, don’t have a vasectomy unless you and your partner are absolutely sure that you don’t want to have children,or any more children in the future. 

Get the Most Out of Your Vasectomy Consultation 

So, before you make the decision to go with a permanent option, you will want to ask your urologist all of the right questions during your consultation. Be sure you learn everything that you want to know about the vasectomy procedure before you make a life changing decision for you and your partner. In addition, this consultation is an important meeting between you and your urologist. This is where you find out more about vasectomy surgery, whether you may be a candidate for surgery, is this even the right decision, and if this is the right surgeon for you. 

1.     Can a vasectomy be reversed?

Some vasectomies can be undone, or “reversed,” but the surgery is rare, difficult, more invasive, and often quite costly. If you and your partner decide that you would like to have more kids, reversing the vasectomy is possible, but there are no guarantees about reproductive success.

2.     Will a vasectomy affect my sex life?

After you have healed from the vasectomy, there should be little or no change in your sex life or sex drive. While men will still ejaculate semen, the sperm is absent from the semen.

3.     What are the risks of getting a vasectomy?

Problems that might occur after getting a vasectomy may include bleeding, infection, and mild inflammation. Complications are quite rare, because it is a fairly simple procedure

4.     How should I prepare for a vasectomy?

On the day of the procedure, the doctor will ask you to bring a jockstrap with you, and to make sure your genital area is clean. Instructions will be given both before and after surgery.

5.     What to do after my vasectomy?

After the vasectomy, your doctor will give you instructions to follow. You may have some pain, swelling, and bruising in the area, but that should start to disappear within a week or two.

6.     Will the vasectomy work right away?

No. A vasectomy will not take effect immediately. It takes up to three months before the sperm will be cleared out of the semen in the vas deferens. Therefore, it is recommended by the doctor to keep using some form of birth control (condoms) for the time being. To analyze or know when the vasectomy is in effect, the doctor will ask you to bring in samples of your ejaculation two or three months after the procedure. Only after you have a sperm-free sample will the procedure be considered effective, and men will be unable to get a woman pregnant. 

7.     Who is the ideal candidate for a vasectomy?

While there are no guidelines or perfect vasectomy candidate, there are several characteristics that should be taken into consideration when making this decision. The best candidates for a vasectomy may include: 

  • Men that are mature enough to make such an important and permanent decision.
  • Men that are secure in their desire to not have children at all or any more children, due to being content with their family’s size.
  • Men who may be concerned about passing on a genetic trait of a hereditary disability or condition. 

It is important to note, that any man considering a vasectomy should engage in a serious discussion with his partner first, to determine if a vasectomy is the right option. If so, consulting with a urologist is the next step.

To find out more information about the vasectomy procedure, and if you may be a candidate, call Urology Specialists of Milford at (508) 473-6333 to request an appointment with Dr. Steinberg.