What are the Pros and Cons of a Vasectomy Surgery?

Christina Edwards

A vasectomy surgery is a simple sterilization procedure performed on males. During a vasectomy, the tiny tubes that transport sperm from the testes to the urethra, called the vasa deferentia, are cut and either tied or cauterized. Before going through with a vasectomy procedure, there are a number of things that a man should consider. One of the major advantages of this procedure is that, after it is done, a man does not have to give much thought to preventing unwanted pregnancies, but it does not protect against sexually transmitted diseases. Also, even though it can be reversed, a vasectomy should be thought of as permanent because there is a chance that a reversal will not work.

Sperm can still be present for up to 20 ejaculations after a vasectomy.
Sperm can still be present for up to 20 ejaculations after a vasectomy.

Vasectomies are usually outpatient procedures done using just local anesthesia. A vasectomy is considered to be much simpler than female sterilization and typically takes less than 30 minutes to complete. On the downside, there is some pain, swelling, and discomfort immediately after a vasectomy surgery. For many men, this can be quite uncomfortable. Most doctors recommend that the patient take at least two days to rest before resuming normal daily activities. Ice can be used to reduce the swelling and pain.

Vasectomies are usually simple outpatient procedures.
Vasectomies are usually simple outpatient procedures.

One advantage of a vasectomy surgery is that the procedure can prevent unplanned and unwanted pregnancies. Vasectomy failure rates are generally less than one percent. Some live sperm is still present in a man's semen for a time after the procedure, though. Doctors typically recommend that another form of birth control be used until a sperm count shows that there are no live sperm left in a man's ejaculate. Although a vasectomy can prevent pregnancy, it can not protect against sexually transmitted disease, and men who have vasectomies can still get and spread these diseases if they have unprotected sex.

One of the most common questions men ask their doctors about vasectomies is whether the procedure is reversible. The answer that many doctors give is "maybe." Reversal of a vasectomy surgery is known as a vasovasostomy, and it is successful roughly half of the time.

During this procedure, a doctor must either untie or cut the vasa deferentia and attempt to repair them. Although it is much easier to reverse a male sterilization than a female sterilization, a vasectomy surgery reversal does have its drawbacks. The procedure can take hours to complete and be quite expensive.

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