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3 Things to Know About Vasectomies

  • Category: Men's Health
  • Posted On:
  • Written By: Dr. Andrew McCall, Urologist
3 Things to Know About Vasectomies

Vasectomies are common, effective and have a low risk of complications or side effects. But for many, deciding whether to have one feels like a big decision and may come with hesitation or concerns. During the quick procedure, which is routinely performed in clinic without sedation, a tube called the vas deferens is cut or blocked. This stops sperm from leaving the body, providing a permanent form of birth control.

Sounds simple, right? To help you make the most informed decision, we tackled three common areas of concern when considering a vasectomy.

1. You can get back to your sex life sooner than you think

A vasectomy shouldn’t have any impact on your sexual performance, sex drive, ejaculation, or erectile function. In fact, studies show that men reported better and more sex after having the procedure.

Once any discomfort or pain subsides, and the surgical site heals, you can have sex using some form of birth control. This typically takes one or two weeks after the procedure. If you do start to feel any discomfort that first time, stop and wait for your body to properly heal.

Then, after getting the all-clear from your doctor that there are no sperm left, you can feel confident in having sex without using any contraception.

2. Most of the “failed” vasectomies you’ve heard about are avoidable

This super common procedure has an almost 100-percent success rate, making it one of the most effective birth control methods around. But you’ve probably heard at least one story from a friend or acquaintance about a “surprise” pregnancy after vasectomy.

After the snip, your body will still produce sperm. Your doctor will schedule you for a semen analysis around 2-3 months -- and an average of 20 ejaculations -- after the procedure. Before this appointment, use another form of birth control. Next, make sure to go to this appointment! If the semen analysis shows that there isn’t any sperm left in your semen, you’re good to go. If sperm is still seen, they will re-test in about a month. (Again, a can’t-miss appointment)

As far as other vasectomy failures, it is very rare to have the snipped tubes reconnect (1 in 2,000) and even rarer to have a surgical error during the procedure.

3. Make sure you’re 100%, because vasectomy reversals aren’t always effective

A reversal is more complicated than the vasectomy itself and can be performed two different ways using microsurgery, a type of surgery that magnifies things as much as 40 times their size. In most cases, the surgeon won’t know which procedure is indicated beforehand and will decide on the spot based on whether or not sperm are found in the vas deferens.

With a vasovasotomy, the two ends of the vas deferens are stitched back together, with a high patency rate (that’s the return of sperm) of 90-95 percent. A vasoepididymostomy is the more complicated reversal procedure with a lower success rate of 65-70 percent.

But, the return of sperm doesn’t guarantee pregnancy, so those success rates range from 30-70 percent after a reversal. The range accounts for additional factors like time since a vasectomy, partner age, surgeon experience and training, and prior fertility issues. Vasectomy reversals may not be covered by insurance, so that’s another thing to consider.

Andrew McCall

Andrew McCall, MD
Louisiana Urology 

Phone: (225) 766-8100