A vasectomy is a common birth control method for males, and prevents sperm from entering seminal fluid ejaculated from the penis. The procedure is low-risk, though men considering a vasectomy should make sure they don't want to have children. While vasectomies are reversible in many cases, complications may result and don't always restore fertility. Vasectomy procedures offer nearly 100% protection in preventing pregnancy, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Who Benefits From a Vasectomy?
Men who don't want children, or any more children, may benefit from a vasectomy. It's a relatively low risk procedure with no side effects, and is less expensive than tubal ligation or other forms of female sterilization or long-term birth control medication costs. Be advised that many surgeons will hesitate to perform a vasectomy if the patient is under 30 years of age. Men should understand that a vasectomy in no way inhibits or restricts sexual performance.
Vasectomy Procedure Details
Roughly one to two weeks before the vasectomy procedure, patients are advised not to take aspirin, as aspirin may act as a blood thinner, increasing the risk of bleeding. Patients may be asked to wash and shave the genital area the day of the surgery. In most cases, patients are given a medication prior to the surgical procedure to help promote relaxation.
Vasectomy procedures generally take place in a doctor's office or outpatient surgery center under a local anesthesia, which means the patient will be awake during the procedure. The urologist will examine the genital area and numb the scrotum prior to surgery. The urologist will then access the vas deferens tubes, or the tubes that carry semen, from inside the scrotal pouches. Each of the tubes is cauterized with heat or closed with some type of surgical clip.
Vasectomies these days are most commonly performed through a tiny puncture in the scrotum rather than through the use of an incision made with a scalpel. Special clips are inserted into the puncture to seal the vas deferens tubes in this procedure. The small puncture wound is literally invisible and doesn't require stitches for healing, and offers less risk of infection or bleeding. The entire procedure may take less than half an hour.
Some doctors still perform conventional vasectomy procedures through two very small incisions about 1 cm in length on each side of the scrotum, which allows access to the vans deferens tubes. In this procedure, the tubes are cut and small sections removed. The tubes are then sutured or sealed together and the incisions in the scrotum stitched up with dissolvable stitches that absorb within a week.
Following the procedure, men can expect some swelling, bruising and some localized discomfort or pain, which improves within a few days. The urologist may suggest patients to wear tightly fitting underwear for roughly two days following the vasectomy for support. An ice pack may help reduce swelling and pain for the first few days.
How Much Does A Vasectomy Cost?
In the United States, vasectomy costs range between $350 and $1,000, depending on geographical location and whether the procedure is performed in a doctor's office or an outpatient surgical center. In some cases, insurance companies may cover the cost of vasectomy. Patients should be advised that most insurance companies don't cover vasectomy reversal procedures. Vasectomy reversal procedures performed in the United States may cost roughly $5,000, while individuals traveling to countries like Turkey may save roughly 40%, paying just over $3,000 for the same procedure. However, consumers should be aware that there are no guarantees that a vasectomy reversal procedure will be successful in restoring fertility.
Who Performs a Vasectomy?
A vasectomy is performed by your urologist, though in some cases, the procedure may be performed by a trained and experienced family medical doctor. A urologist is a specialist with an emphasis in training in reproductive and urinary medicine. Urologists must complete general urological training and residency programs and be well-versed in vasectomy as well as vasectomy-reversal techniques.
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