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5 things men should know about a vasectomy

Choosing to get a vasectomy is a highly personal decision for most men. Vasectomies are the most effective form of birth control, other than abstinence. And there are relatively few risks associated with the procedure.

But it’s normal to question the degree of pain after surgery, or even wonder what happens if you change your mind and want to have children.

Richard Jadick, D.O., a urologist at Piedmont, shares five cold, hard facts that men should know about vasectomies.

1. The procedure doesn’t last long, and it can be performed in your doctor’s office.

“It literally takes 15 or 20 minutes,” says Dr. Jadick. “I use local anesthetic to numb my patients, and then I make an incision on each side of the scrotum.”

The vans deferens, or the two tubes that carry sperm from the testicles to the urethra, are pulled out, severed and sealed with clamps. This prevents sperm from getting into the semen and leaving the body to cause pregnancy.

There is some pain after the procedure, but it isn’t too bad, says Dr. Jadick.

“It hurts for about a week,” says Dr. Jadick. “But it’s not too bad. I usually tell patients to wait three days before going back to work and restoring normal activities. I also recommend putting ice on your scrotum for 20 minutes out of every hour of the first day post-surgery.  If you do what I tell you, you’ll do fine.”

2. It takes about two months for a vasectomy to take effect. 

Vasectomies don’t work right away. It usually takes about two months for sperm to clear from both of the vans deferens. So it’s important to continue to use another method of birth control until you’ve been cleared by your doctor.

“I have all of my patients come back around two months and give me a semen analysis,” says Dr. Jadick.  “If there’s no sperm, we consider them sterile.”

3. A vasectomy will not interfere with your sex life.

A vasectomy won’t affect your sex drive, your erections, or your ability to climax.

“Orgasms will be the same,” says Dr. Jadick. “And there will be no change in the amount of fluid that comes out when you ejaculate. The amount of sperm that goes into the total ejaculate is not very much. It’s less than a drop. And there should also be no difference in sensation.”

4.It can be reversed.

Vasectomies can be reversed, says Dr. Jadick.

“A reversal, or vasovasostomy, is actually 85 percent successful or better depending on how far you are out from your vasectomy,” says Dr. Jadick.  “The problem with the reversal is it is a much longer operation under a microscope. You are under anesthesia, and those tubes have to be reconnected.”

The other issue is that insurance companies don’t typically cover reversal surgeries. So it may cost $6,000 to $10,000 out-of-pocket.

5. Try to finish family planning before deciding on a vasectomy.

If you’re still thinking about having kids in the future, don’t do this, says Dr. Jadick.

“One of the questions I always ask my patients is, ‘Do you have kids. And if you are married, does your wife know that you are here?’ That way everybody’s covered,” he says. 

If patients are over the age of 21 and capable of making their own decisions, the choice is up to them.

Need to make an appointment with a Piedmont physician? Save time, book online.

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