silhouette of couple on beachVasectomy is a method of permanent contraception for men. The procedure involves blocking the tubes that carry sperm from the testicles. The traditional technique is to make an incision in the front of the scrotum, to pull the tubes up through the incision, and to cut the tubes. With the no-scalpel method, the physician makes a small puncture in the front of the scrotum and gently draw the vas tubes through the small puncture. Using this method, there is much less chance of complications and the patient usually feels much more comfortable.
What do you do before your vasectomy?
The most important thing to do before your vasectomy is to be certain that you are ready for permanent contraception. Though you may hear about vasectomy reversals, the reversal procedure, called vasovasostomy, is often not successful. Before your vasectomy, you must be certain that you do not want to have children in the future. You also should have some type of pre-vasectomy counseling. When Dr. Curington does vasectomies in certain clinics (for example, in Planned Parenthoods), you will meet with a counselor who reviews the procedure in detail, who discusses the potential risks of the procedure, and who helps you with the consent forms. Please make sure you get to ask any questions. When Dr. Curington does vasectomies in his own clinic, you will meet with with Dr. Curington before your procedure to review the any questions you might have. Please also feel free to contact the Curington Vasectomy Center if you have any questions before or after the procedure. Dr. Curington will chat with you to make sure you have your questions addressed. A vasectomy is a voluntary procedure and we want to make sure you feel comfortable with what you are doing.
How do you prepare for a vasectomy?
Avoid aspirin and any other “blood-thinning” medications for a week before your procedure. Of course, it you take aspirin or an anticoagulant for treatment after a heart-attack, stroke, or other serious medical issue, discuss this with your primary care physician first. Shave the front of the scrotum and base of the penis the day before your vasectomy. Having a “hair-free zone” makes the procedure much easier for the doctor. Take a regular shower with soap on the morning of your procedure. Get a good lather going and rinse well. You don’t need to buy any special soap; normal bath soap is excellent. Buy a snug supportive jock strap and bring it to clinic on the day of your procedure. You can buy a jockstrap at any major sporting goods store. These are sized by your waist size, not by any other measurement. Make sure you buy one without the rigid plastic cup, you just want the snug cotton for support.
During Your Vasectomy
The surprise that most men get during a no-scalpel vasectomy is that the procedure is much more gentle than they expect. You will get to review the procedure with the physician, ask any questions you may have, and then have the procedure. The actual procedure is usually fairly quick. Procedures run somewhere between ten minutes and thirty minutes, depending on your particular body shape, previous conditions, etc. You will let your pants and underwear fall down to your ankles, then we will cover your “private parts” with a surgical drape. We also use a special antiseptic solution, so please let us know if you have any allergies to any skin-cleaning products. The doctor will do an examination of the scrotum and tubes and then give you a local anesthetic using a special “hypospray.” This modern anesthetic sprayer is able to deliver local anesthetic without using a needle. This is much more comfortable for the patient. In fact, most men are quite surprised at the gentleness of the no-needle vasectomy. After the local anesthetic is placed, you shouldn’t feel any pain at all. There is no need to rush the procedure and your comfort is very important. If you want, you can even listen to relaxing music. During the procedure itself, Dr. Curington will access the vas tubes through a tiny opening in the skin, then cauterize and cut the tubes. For extra security, the tubes are also tied or clipped apart to prevent them from accidentally rejoining in the future. After the procedure, the tiny orifice in the skin is so small that in the majority of cases, you won’t even need a bandaid. Most men are pleasantly surprised by the whole process and say they would recommend the procedure to their friends.
After Your Vasectomy
You will be given a set of detailed instructions after your vasectomy. The information below is to give you a general idea of the process. After your vasectomy, the small puncture will be covered by a sterile gauze and you will snug up your athletic support (also known as “the jock strap”). You should plan to rest in a comfortable chair or couch for the rest of the day and restrain your activities to minimal movements. Most men have no complications at all, but definitely the more you move around on the first day, the more you will feel. A few bags of frozen peas are also helpful for comfort. You can apply these for about 5 to 10 minutes every hour. The next day, you can take a shower and start to take walks. You should take the gauze pad off in the shower and replace it with a new sterile gauze pad when you are dry. Continuing to wear the athletic supporter over the gauze is helpful for most men. Most patients can resume gentle work during the next few days. If you do heavy physical labor, however, most men will do better if they take it easy for the next five to six days. You can resume sexual activities in a week, but in general it is good to “take it easy” for the first two weeks. After your vasectomy, you will be given a follow-up sheet with discharge instructions and Dr. Curington’s follow-up phone number. Call the number listed on your sheet for any questions regarding post-vasectomy care. One of the most important parts of post-vasectomy care is the post-vasectomy semen check. Vasectomy is a highly-effective method of birth control, but the tubes can grow back together in about 1 to 3 cases per thousand. Usually, this is no problem; you would just have the vasectomy repeated to snip the tubes again. The problem would be if your tubes regrew together and you didn’t know it. So, make sure you follow your discharge instructions and bring a semen sample to the directed location for analysis. You should continue to consider yourself as “fertile” (i.e. able to father children) until you get the “non fertile” results back from your semen analysis.