A vasectomy usually takes about 15 minutes, and can be done under local anaesthetic in the comfort of a GP surgery. Men usually report feeling a mild to moderate ache in their testicles for a few seconds during the procedure. For a few days after the vasectomy the testicles may ache or feel like they have been kicked. Men should rest for 24 hours afterwards and avoid heavy physical work and sexual activity for a few days.
Can I have a vasectomy if I am single?
Yes, vasectomies are carried out on single men in Australia. It does not matter if you have not had any children, however, you must think carefully about vasectomy as the procedure is permanent. Men who have vasectomies when they are in their 20's, especially if they have had fewer than two children, may be the ones most likely to seek vasectomy reversal at a later date, often regretting their vasectomy decisions if their reversals are not successful.
Will my vasectomy be 100% successful in preventing pregnancy?
More than 99 per cent of vasectomies are effective at preventing pregnancy. Very rarely, the 2 cut ends of the vas deferens can join together and form an open channel for sperm again — usually in the first 2-3 months after the operation.
Is this a ‘laser’ vasectomy?
Certainly not. The vas tubes are most easily and safely divided under direct vision with a fine surgical scissors. But the expression "LASER" has great popular appeal, and use of laser energy in the performance of a simple vasectomy serves no purpose but to play up to this popular appeal. But a laser (like any other form of light) cannot pass through opaque tissue without burning a hole in it, so a laser cannot be magically directed at internal organs such as the vas tubes without an access opening in the same way that sound waves can be used to destroy kidney stones without an incision.
How are the ends prevented from re-joining?
After the vas is divided, the lower end is allowed to slide back down into the sheath, while the upper end is held outside the sheath. A tiny hemoclip (the size of a grain of rice) is then used to close the empty portion of the sheath between the 2 ends. Most hemoclip are made of titanium.
Some men request that we use a suture rather than a hemoclip out of an intuitive preference to avoid having any metal implanted in their bodies. No problem. A suture can take a minute more to apply than a hemoclip and may cause a little more local inflammation and scarring, but this is of little clinical significance. Removal of a small section of the testicular end is optional; it does not influence the effectiveness of the technique.
How is a vasectomy done without a needle or scalpel?
A spray applicator is used to deliver a fine stream of liquid anaesthetics at a pressure great enough to penetrate the skin and deep enough to envelop the vas tube held snugly beneath the skin. That numbs the skin and both vas tubes adequately for 99% of men. The other 1% (usually men who have thick skin or scarring due to prior surgical procedures in the area) will require a bit more anaesthetic delivered with a fine needle, usually with no pain at all because of the partial anaesthesia achieved with the spray applicator.
No-scalpel vasectomy instruments are simply a very pointy hemostat, used initially to make a tiny opening into anesthetized skin of the scrotal wall, and a ring clamp, used initially to secure each vas tube in turn beneath this opening. The pointy hemostat is then used to spread all layers (the vas sheath) down to the vas tube itself and to then deliver a small loop of the vas through the opening as the ring clamp is released. In turn, the ring clamp is used to hold the vas, while the pointy hemostat spreads adherent tissue and blood vessels away from the vas under direct vision, so that the vas can then be divided with a fine surgical scissors and the upper end cauterized with a hand-held cautery unit so that it will seal closed.