What is vasectomy?
Vasectomy is one of the safest and most effective methods of birth control. It is much safer than the other common contraceptive surgery, tubal ligation. Thousands of Australian men choose vasectomy as their preferred method of contraception. The vas deferens (vasa deferentia in plural) is the tube that carries sperm from the testis to the ejaculatory duct prior to ejaculation. Conventional vasectomy is a surgical procedure in which both vasa are cut to block sperm from being added to a man’s ejaculate or semen. Local anaesthetic is given and either 1 or 2 incisions are made in the scrotum with a scalpel. The 2 vasa are revealed, cut and sealed. The incisions are then closed with sutures.
No-Scalpel Vasectomy is a safer and less invasive technique. It reduces the already low complication rate of conventional vasectomy. It differs from conventional vasectomy in how anaesthesia is given and in how the 2 vasa are reached. Worldwide, millions of men have had the procedure. This is the technique that we use at Mingara Medical.
Benefits of No-Scalpel Vasectomy
- Less pain
- Fewer complications
- No external stitches needed
- Quicker recovery
No Scalpel Vasectomy uses an advanced technique to anaesthetise the scrotum more effectively. It requires no scalpel. Instead, the doctor avoids complex surgery by carefully isolating the vas deferens on each side using the fingers of one hand. Each vas is then fixed just below the scrotal skin with an instrument designed to hold firmly without pinching. A tiny split is made with pointed forceps. Occasionally, 2 splits are needed. The vas deferens is then delivered through the skin, cut and sealed. When the operation is complete, no sutures are needed to close the tiny opening. A small dressing is applied. The procedure takes approximately 20-30 minutes. You can generally resume light daily activities following the procedure.
How will vasectomy affect me?
Vasectomy only interrupts the 2 tubes that carry sperm from the testes to where they are added to your semen. The penis and testes are not altered. All hormonal and sexual functions remain unaffected and therefore your voice, body hair and interest in sex remain the same. Your body still produces semen. Erections and ejaculation occur normally. The only difference is that your semen will no longer contain sperm. The body naturally absorbs unused sperm. Your partner will not notice any difference.
Can I discontinue other birth control methods right away?
NO! Sperm can remain in the vas deferens above the operative site for weeks or even months after vasectomy. You will not be considered sterile until post-vasectomy semen testing shows that there is no sperm in the ejaculate. This test will be done 3 months after the procedure. Until then, you MUST continue to use other birth control to prevent pregnancy. You will be provided with a specimen jar and pathology referral on the day of your procedure. A follow up phone call will be booked after 3 months to confirm the results. Do not have unprotected sex before this time as your partner can still become pregnant.
Is vasectomy painful?
You may feel some discomfort when the local anaesthetic is given. After it takes effect, you should feel no pain, though some men may feel a slight “tugging” sensation as the vasa are manipulated. After surgery you may feel a little sore for a few days. We recommend that you refrain from strenuous activity for one week. Sex can usually be resumed 7 days after the procedure.
All contraceptive methods carry some risks as well as benefits. Vasectomy is a very low risk procedure, but complications are possible. They are detailed below.
- Bleeding (haematoma) and infections are the most common complications of vasectomy. No-Scalpel Vasectomy, the procedure that we perform at Mingara Medical, reduces their likelihood because the blood vessels responsible for bleeding are less likely to be affected and because the opening (or openings) in the scrotum are so small.
- Vasectomy is not guaranteed to be 100% effective. Even when the operation is performed perfectly, it is possible in very rare cases for sperm to find its way across the void between the two blocked ends of the vas deferens. This is called recanalisation. It is another reason why a semen sample must be taken 3 months after vasectomy to confirm that your semen contains no sperm. Recanalisation usually occurs in the first 2-3 months after vasectomy, but has been known in extremely rare cases to occur even years later.
- Sperm granuloma is a hard, sometimes painful lump about the size of a pea that may form as a result of sperm leakage from the cut vas deferens. The lump is not dangerous and is almost always absorbed by the body with time.
- Congestion refers to a sense of pressure caused by sperm in the testis and epididymis that may cause discomfort for sometime after vasectomy. Like sperm granuloma, congestion usually resolves itself in time.
Can vasectomy be reversed?
In many cases, the cut ends of the vas deferens can be surgically reattached. However, this operation, a vasovasostomy, is expensive and for a variety of reasons, does not guarantee a return to fertility. Vasectomy should therefore be considered a permanent procedure. Before you choose to have a vasectomy, make sure that you and your partner do not want any more children.
We will discuss the procedure in person to determine the suitability of No-Scalpel Vasectomy for you. At some point, you will be required to sign a consent form. It will state that you understand vasectomy and its possible risks and that it is not guaranteed to result in permanent sterility. Prior to signing this form, be sure that you are informed and comfortable with your decision. It is important that you fully discuss and resolve with your doctor any lingering questions or concerns that you may have prior to the procedure.
- Medications – most medications can be safely continued. Some blood thinning medications will need to be ceased prior to the procedure. Your doctor will discuss this with you at the initial consultation.
- Avoid shaving the area as this has been shown to increase the risk of infection.
- Pre vasectomy, obligation-free consult is $77 (Medicare rebate of $38.75)
- Vasectomy cost is $750 (Medicare rebate of $219)
- $100 deposit required at time of booking procedure to secure an appointment
- Follow up appointment 3 months after a vasectomy to review the results of semen analysis can be done via phone
Please call and speak to our receptionists during office hours to book a consult.