Common Questions about Vasectomy
John Curington MD
Exactly what is a vasectomy?
A vasectomy is an operation that blocks the tubes that carry sperm from the testicles. The purpose of vasectomy is to prevent pregnancy. We do a vasectomy by making a very small opening in the skin in the front of the scrotum, then interrupting the tubes. Vasectomy is simple, inexpensive, and effective.
Does vasectomy change your sex drive at all?
For most men, not at all. Simply interrupting the tubes that carry sperm won’t affect drive. Vasectomy does not affect the male hormones produced by the testicles. Some men (and their partners), in fact, feel more comfortable with sex and note an INCREASED sex drive after a vasectomy. It's nice not having to worry.
Does it hurt?
Your vasectomy will be pain free... or almost. You will have little or no discomfort during the vasectomy. The majority of men say that it is easier than going to the dentist or getting blood drawn! The doctor uses local anesthetic to completely numbs the skin and area around the tubes. General anesthesia is not needed. The vasectomy site does NOT involve the testicles or penis, thus you are spared discomfort in these sensitive areas.
How does the local anesthetic work?
The local anesthetic is called lidocaine, and works very well. The doctor uses an air-sprayer called a Madajet that sprays the lidocaine into the skin. Most men say that the spray of the Madajet feels like getting flicked by a rubber band. In some clinics, the doctor uses a very fine needle (the size of a hair) for the local anesthesia. The very fine needle is also surprisingly gentle. With both systems, the anesthetic completely numbs the skin and area around the tubes. Lidocaine is a very effective anesthetic, and for the few men who need a little more lidocaine, the doctor is happy to oblige.
What is the recovery period like?
What are the potential complications of a vasectomy?
Whoa! You just mentioned “continuing ability to get someone pregnant.” How can this happen?
What happens to the sperm after a vasectomy?
Will I be able to notice any change in my semen?
I have read that the volume of semen in my ejaculate won’t be changed much. How is this?
After my vasectomy, the clinic said I should wait for three months until my semen check. Why is this?
The semen check is a very important part of a vasectomy. You should always consider yourself “fertile” until after a semen check verifies that you no longer have viable sperm in your semen. Bringing in the semen sample for analysis is important, but bringing the sample in too soon can give you a scare. Very often, a few sperm are hiding in the prostate and seminal vesicles, so your sperm count will be positive even though the vas tubes have been successfully sealed. Waiting three months allows the hidden sperm to be flushed out enough that your analysis will be “clear.” Also, there is the very rare chance that the tubes can grow back together after a vasectomy. By the time three months have passed, the semen analysis will likely show if the tubes have grown back together. For most men, the semen check is a simple process and they get exactly the results they expect, but it is important to not skip this vital step.