What is a Vasectomy?
Vasectomy is a form of birth control chosen by thousands of men annually. It is an office-based procedure that refers to the division, obstruction or partial removal of a segment of the vas deferens (a small tube which connects the testes to the urethra as it passes through the prostate gland) to prevent transmission of sperm from the testicles to the urethra where they mix with semen during ejaculation. The sperm are then trapped within the epididymis where they remain until being reabsorbed back into the body. The testicles also produce testosterone, a male hormone, which is excreted into the bloodstream. Vasectomy does NOT affect testosterone production which is responsible for maleness and sex drive. Therefore, male characteristics and sexual function do not change. The sperm only represent about 1% of the semen volume and are invisible, therefore there will be no perceptible difference in the appearance or volume of the semen after vasectomy. With over 20 urologist office locations in Kansas and Missouri, KCUC proudly offers vasectomy procedures in Kansas City, Overland Park, Emporia, Leavenworth, Olathe, Harrisonville, Independence, MO, and the entire KC metro area.
Preparation for the Vasectomy
Choose a date that will allow you to rest for 48 hours after the vasectomy to avoid pain and potential bleeding after the procedure. Most patients will choose to have their vasectomy on a Thursday or a Friday which allows them two days at home to recuperate before return to work on Monday.
Prior to vasectomy, an office appointment is preferred so that the procedure may be explained in detail. You will be given a packet containing a consent form and a valium prescription for a small dose to be taken the morning of the procedure. You may be asked to view a pre-operative video and instructed to perform a limited shave of the genital hair around the vasectomy site. Most patients find this is most easily accomplished by using a disposable razor during a hot shower.
On the day of the vasectomy, you may eat and drink normally. You may take your normal medications and supplements. We would ask, however, that you refrain from using any blood thinners for 7 days prior to your vasectomy. Typical blood thinners contain aspirin products, ibuprofen, naproxen, vitamin E, fish oil, as well as more specific drugs that are utilized for specific cardiac and vascular diseases There will be a more complete list of blood thinners in your vasectomy packet.
The Vasectomy Procedure
On the day of the procedure, we ask you to arrange for someone to drive you to and from the procedure. The procedure takes approximately 15-20 minutes. Once in the procedure room, you will be asked to undress from the waist down, cover up with a sheet, and lie down on a procedure table. Once you are positioned on the table, a small amount of cleansing solution will be used to prepare the skin in the upper scrotal and genital region.
During a vasectomy, the vas deferens on each side of the scrotal sac is disconnected thus interrupting the flow of sperm from the testicles to the urinary tract. This is usually accomplished by placing a small amount of numbing medicine into the skin overlying the tube on each side. Most men report that this feels like a small pinch which lasts 1-2 seconds. Once this medicine is in place, there is very little pain for the remainder of the vasectomy. After the skin is numb, your doctor will make a small incision in the skin overlying the tube and then identify the tube underneath. Once isolated, the tube is disconnected (and often clipped, cauterized or tied) to complete the vasectomy. These steps then are repeated on the opposite side to complete the procedure.
At the conclusion, a small stitch is usually placed to close the skin incisions. Typically, this stitch will dissolve over a period of one to 3 weeks, and thus a routine follow-up for stitch removal is rarely needed. Your doctor will verify if a follow up appointment is required.
After the procedure, you can dress and then travel home. We suggest bringing with you a supportive pair of underwear available to use immediately after the procedure and for at least one week following the vasectomy. Most men prefer spandex tight boxer briefs like those made by UnderArmour
After Vasectomy Procedure
You are at greatest risk for complication from your vasectomy in the first 48 hours after the procedure. During this time period, the body will undergo the initial phases of healing. This is when inflammation is most prominent. Minimizing inflammation through the following techniques will thus minimize your pain and risk of complications following your procedure. The key instructions for you to following during this 48-hour period are as follows:
- Immediately upon returning home, we ask you to refrain from being on your feet for any extended period. You do not have to be at strict bedrest; however, minimizing the time that you are on your feet will decrease the amount of swelling experienced in the scrotal and testicle region. Lying down or reclining is preferred.
- On the day after your vasectomy, you may shower in the morning, but we again would ask you to spend most of the day following the vasectomy recumbent with ice packs applied to the scrotum.
- For the first 48 hours, we suggest using an ice pack on the region to help reduce the amount of inflammation and swelling. A suggested regimen is either continuous outside the supportive underwear or 10 minutes on and 30 minutes off in order to keep the tissue at the operative site cool.
- Beginning on the third day after vasectomy you may resume most non-strenuous activities. Many men find that during the first week after the procedure, they will occasionally get discomfort when on their feet for extended periods of time or engaging in more moderate to strenuous activities. This is entirely normal and usually will respond to rest, supportive underwear and the use of ibuprofen or other anti-inflammatory medicine.
- You may resume sexual function and more strenuous activity like jogging, climbing and weight-lifting one week after your vasectomy.
When will I be considered sterile?
Patients are still fertile, and pregnancy can be achieved until all sperm exit the reproductive and urinary tracts. This may take several weeks, and you will be asked to bring back two semen specimens 8-16 weeks after the vasectomy. Until that occurs other means of birth control will be needed.
Typical questions regarding vasectomy
- Is vasectomy permanent? Yes. There is less than 1/2000 chance that the vas deferens can spontaneously reconnect once semen has been checked and negative for sperm on 2 semen analysis.
- Are there long-term risks of vasectomy? No. Long-term health problems have not been confirmed. There have been a few articles suggesting prostate cancer incidence may be higher, but these data have not been verified by appropriate comparative studies.
- What are the short-term risks? There is a 1%-2% risk of bleeding or infection and about a 3% risk of pain, more than just mild local discomfort for a week or so after the procedure.
- Can vasectomy be reversed? Yes. The vas deferens can be reattached with microsurgical techniques. The sooner reversal is done after vasectomy the better the results are, and overall pregnancy rates are about 60%.
Contact KCUC today and choose the Kansas or Missouri location closest to you for all of your Kansas City vasectomy appointment needs and questions.