Surgical Associates
of Ithaca, P.C.

Cayuga Professional Center
1301 Trumansburg Rd
Ithaca, New York 14850
(607) 273-3161

General Information Regarding Vasectomy

Vasectomy is a means of male sterilization, which involves removing a small portion of each tube, which carries sperm from the testicle. The ends of the tube (called the vas deferens) are tied off, or pinched with tiny metal clips. This prevents sperm from reaching the storage areas (called the “seminal vesicles”) at the bottom of the urinary bladder, near the prostate gland.

The operation is usually done under local anesthesia in the office, and takes about half an hour. One small incision is made above each testicle on the scrotum, after numbing up the skin and tissues beneath it. The vas is then identified, a portion is removed, and the skin and muscles are closed with stitches.

Proper preparation for this operation helps ensure a good result. Please read carefully the sheet entitled “Preparation for a Vasectomy”, ask our office staff to answer any questions.

Although the ends of the vas can be brought together again at a later date, vasectomy should be considered a permanent sterilization. This is because the pregnancy success rate after re-joining of the vas is not very good. One should not have a vasectomy if there is ANY chance he might want to achieve a pregnancy at a future date.

You are not sterile immediately following vasectomy because the sperm storage sacs still hold sperm for quite a while. Ninety percent of men are sterile with in three months of vasectomy. A few men may require six or even seven months to get rid of every last sperm. You must continue using some other means of preventing pregnancy until the sperm count, determined by looking at a semen sample under the microscope, is zero. This means it is absolutely necessary to have the sperm counted, and to know that the sperm count is zero, before having sexual intercourse without protection.

Our office will arrange an appointment for you at the Cayuga Medical Center laboratory for a sperm count approximately 3 months after your vasectomy. You will receive a bill directly from CMC for this laboratory test.

Like other operations, vasectomy can fail. While different authors have experienced various rates of failure, the rate should be well under one percent. Failure can occur even in a well done, properly performed vasectomy. If the sperm does not disappear from the ejaculate, one or both sides of the vasectomy must be done again to achieve sterility. (very rare)

Infection can occur but is uncommon; it occurs in about two percent of vasectomies. If increasing soreness, swelling, redness, or heat should be noticed starting several days after vasectomy, call your surgeon. He may need to examine you, he may prescribe antibiotics, and he will probably recommend that you rest in bed for several days and check with him again after that time. Rarely, infection can be severe and require hospitalization.

Bruising of the penis or scrotum is common. Very occasionally a small collection of blood will occur above one testicle or the other, and that may remain sore for a week or so. Everyone gets some swelling of the cord, which goes down to the testicles. All of these problems are temporary and will completely resolve without treatment. Usually, they cause no symptoms whatsoever. The best way to minimize swelling and bruising is to rest for several hours after the procedure, with a small ice pack (ice cubes in a baggy, inside a towel) on the area. By the next day you will probably be ready to return to work, although an athletic supporter may be helpful on the area.

Pain is usually not a major problem. Your surgeon usually will provide a prescription for oral pain medication. By avoiding heavy lifting for a few days and taking your pain pills, you should not have major trouble with discomfort. If you do, contact our office.

Extensive tests have been done to tens of thousands of men who have had vasectomy. There is no evidence that vasectomy has any major effect on the future health of men. If you have any questions about this, ask your surgeon to discuss it with you.

You and your partner should discuss the possible alternatives to vasectomy, especially including tubal ligation, which is a surgical interruption of the tubes leading from the uterus ("the womb") to the ovaries. Your partner’s gynecologist would do this procedure. There are other alternate methods of family planning including birth control pills, condoms, diaphragms, and spermicidal gel. Within the next few years it is possible that some form of male birth control pill may be available; at present, no such male contraceptive exists.