is a vasectomy?
A vasectomy is a minor surgical procedure used
by surgeons to make a man sterile. It is one of the most popular
forms of contraception worldwide, and is regarded as safe, simple
and highly effective. A vasectomy is performed by cutting the vas
deferens, the small tubes that carry sperms from the man's testicles
to become part of his semen. Although the man continues to have sexual
intercourse and climax as before, his semen does not contain sperm
and he cannot father a child following a vasectomy.
What is a "No-Scalpel" Vasectomy
The No-Scalpel technique is one of two main
methods surgeons use to perform a vasectomy. Many doctors favour
the No-Scalpel method because - unlike the traditional vasectomy
approach - a scalpel is not required and there are no incisions
(only one or two small punctures in the skin). In addition, the
NSV often results in less discomfort after the procedure with a
reduced risk of bleeding or infection. Also, there is no perceptible
How long does the No-Scalpel procedure and
The procedure itself usually takes about 20 - 30 minutes, sometimes less. However,
including the Surgery routine, paperwork and preparation, the total time in
a doctor's Surgery may be about an hour. The procedure is likely to produce
tenderness, discomfort and slight swelling in the first two or three days afterwards,
with a return to nearly all usual activities typically within a week. (Follow
your doctor's instructions carefully, take your time and use the schedule that
is right for you.)
How effective is a No-Scalpel vasectomy?
A vasectomy of any type is considered as
one of the most effective means of protection from pregnancy. Although
no procedure is totally safe or effective, the failure rate for
a vasectomy is less than one percent. (By comparison, the failure
rate for condoms is 12 percent or more; for diaphragms, it's 18
percent.) Couples who want a highly reliable and permanent form
of contraception often opt for a vasectomy where the success rate
is over 99 percent.
Does it work immediately?
No, any vasectomy does not make you sterile right away, and you'll want to
continue using some other means to guard against pregnancy until your doctor
tells you otherwise. Immediately after a vasectomy, active sperm remain in
the semen for a period of time. It may take 30-40 ejaculations and several
weeks before your semen is free of sperm. Your doctor will test the semen,
perhaps several times over several weeks, and let you know when you can safely
consider the vasectomy to be complete. This may be as long as three months.
What happens to the sperm?
The body absorbs unused sperm cells normally - whether or not you' have had
a vasectomy. After the procedure, the testicles will continue to produce sperm,
but they will not leave the body in the semen. They dissolve and are simply
and naturally absorbed by the body.
Will my sex life be affected?
A vasectomy only blocks sperm and does not affect your sexual drive, your ability
to have an erection, orgasm or ejaculation or your ability to have and enjoy
sex. Sperm is only a small fraction of the total liquid in your semen. The
amount of fluid, intensity - even colour and texture - does not appear to change
when sperm is absent. Male hormones continue in the bloodstream, and secondary
characteristics (such as beard or voice) do not change. Some couples say their
relationship is improved by not having to worry about contraceptive techniques
or unplanned pregnancy.
What is the cost of a No-Scalpel vasectomy?
This may be done under NHS if you reside within our PCT area and your GP is
able to refer you to us. But we have to operate within allocated quotas so
waiting time may be long. If this is carried out privately we charge £200
which includes pre-operative and post-operative appointments as required and
Are there risks or complications?
Yes, as with any surgical procedure, there could be complications and you should
ask your doctor to go over these carefully with you. However, any type of vasectomy
ranks among the safest procedures and the majority of complications, if any,
are usually minor and easily treated. These include a chance of infection,
bleeding or transient bruising, temporary swelling or fluid accumulation.
Following the procedure, some men experience pain, often as a dull ache, caused
by a pressure on the miniature tubes of the epididymis. This is usually treated
successfully with medication, but the removal of the epididymis is sometimes
Some studies have found that some men, who had a vasectomy 20 years earlier,
have a slightly higher risk of prostate cancer than others who did not have
a vasectomy. Other studies did not have the same results. There is no proven
such risk that there is any link of Prostate cancer with Vasectomy.
Can a vasectomy be reversed?
You should consider any vasectomy to be permanent. There are delicate microsurgery
operations that may be able to reverse the effects of a vasectomy, but there
is no assurance that the flow of sperm can be restored or pregnancy will result
in every case. The likelihood of success can vary greatly depending on individual
circumstances, including how much time has passed since the vasectomy. If you
are seriously considering a vasectomy, it's best to assume that it will be
a permanent change.
Who are the best candidates for vasectomy?
Because this is a personal decision, there are no absolute rules, and the best
answer lies in being informed. However, here are some suggestions to consider
as to who is a good candidate:
Men and their partners over the age of 25, who are seriously committed to not
having more children now, or in the future.
Men for whom other forms of contraception are not safe alternatives for themselves
or their spouse.
Men who want to enjoy sex without the fear of unwanted pregnancy.
Men who do not feel ‘forced’ into this decision by others or financial
Men who want to take the responsibility of contraception.
Men who are concerned about passing on a genetic disease or hereditary disability.
Before making a decision, discuss these and all related issues with your spouse,
and seek the advice of your physician.
• A vasectomy should be considered permanent, so consider your decision
fully and carefully.
• Be informed and discuss all your options with your spouse and your physician.
• Some men (or couples) may not be well suited for a vasectomy, particularly
if either partner is under the age of 25.
• Short-term, temporary or changing circumstances may not be good reasons
to consider a long-term or permanent procedure.
• A range of contraceptive methods provides couples with a variety of alternatives
Absence from work or limited activity
Doctors often recommend that a patient rest following the procedure and avoid
strenuous activity or heavy lifting for two or three days. Individuals can
usually return to work within three days, and most patients say they feel completely
back to normal in about a week.
Common fears of Vasectomy, In Summary:
• Having a procedure near his testicles is a nearly universal fear for
• Knowledge and understanding help balance anxiety.
• A vasectomy is considered safe, simple, fast and highly effective.
• A vasectomy is often preferable over surgical options for the woman.
• Discomfort following the procedure is often mild and easily relieved.
• Rest is advised for a few days; return to work is typically three days.
• Always discuss concerns and risk factors with your doctor; ask questions.
The Male Reproductive Anatomy
Here are simple diagrams that illustrate the primary
elements of the male reproductive system