Answers From one of Tucson’s Leading Urologists
Dr. Peter Burrows is a board-certified and fellowship-trained urologist with extensive experience performing vasectomies. He has provided this list of frequently asked questions to help educate patients on the procedure. If you have more questions, or would like to schedule a consultation, call (520) 731-0600 to schedule an appointment at our office in Tucson, AZ today!
Is Vasectomy right for me?
Vasectomy is most cost effective and safest method of birth control. If you are interested in permanent birth control than vasectomy is your best option.
What is a Vasectomy?
A Vasectomy is the surgical interruption of the vas deferens. The vas deferens are the two tubes that transport sperm from the testicles to the ejaculatory ducts and on to the prostatic urethra where the sperm combines with other secretions from various glands in order to produce semen.
Can a Vasectomy be reversed?
Yes, but Microsurgical Vasectomy Reversal can be relatively expensive and there are no guarantees of returned fertility.
Besides Vasectomy Reversal, how can I have children if I change my mind?
There are two options. First is to sperm bank before the vasectomy. This is simply dropping off 2-3 sperm specimens that are cryogenically frozen and can be un-frozen and used for artificial insemination or In Vitro Fertilization. This costs about $500. The second option is to aspirate a small amount of sperm from the epididymis and use this in conjunction with In Vitro Fertilization. IVF costs about $15,000.
What is No-Needle Vasectomy?
No-Needle Vasectomy is a surgical technique that allows a physician to administer an anesthetic without the use of needles. A pressure jet injection instrument is used to deliver a high-pressure spray of medication directly through the skin. There is very little to no pain. You may feel a quick flick. The medication begins to work in 10-20 seconds when administered by the No-Needle jet instead of 2-3 minutes when administered by a needle. There is little to no bruising.
What is a No-Scalpel Vasectomy and how does it differ from a conventional vasectomy?
In a conventional Vasectomy the physician makes cuts or incisions in the skin of the scrotum and lifts the vas deferens out of the scrotum, cutting and blocking the tubes to stop the sperm from reaching the semen, the scrotum is then stitched closed.
A No-Scalpel Vasectomy differs as the physician feels for the vas deferens under the skin and uses a special clamp to hold it in place. Instead of making incisions the physician uses a special instrument to make a tiny puncture in the skin of the scrotum. He then uses that same instrument to gently stretch the opening and bring the previously clamped vas deferens to the surface where it is blocked using the same methods as a conventional vasectomy. There is very little bleeding with the No-Scalpel technique. The punctures are sutured together with two stitches. The punctures heal quickly and usually without scarring.
Will it hurt?
You should feel little to no pain during the procedure. After surgery you may feel a little sore for a few days. You will be provided with instructions during your visit that will aid in a speedy and uncomplicated recovery.
Will I lose time from work?
You will need to be off your feet for the first 48 to 72 hours. Avoid heavy lifting, strenuous physical activity and straddle type activities (horse back, motorcycle and bike riding) for about one week. You will be seen in our office approximately one week after your procedure. If your job requires any of the above activities we can provide you with a work excuse note.
How soon will I be sterile?
You will not be sterile until all of the sperm has cleared from your system. This varies from person to person, but usually takes at least 20 ejaculations. Therefore you should continue your present form of birth control until after you have had a negative post vasectomy semen analysis and have been cleared by your doctor. For your convenience this can be performed on our premises. More information will be provided to you at your visit.
Will a Vasectomy affect my masculinity?
Vasectomy only stops the sperm from reaching your semen, it does not stop your semen, alter your penis, testicles or ejaculations. It does not have an effect on the production of testosterone and does not impact your ability to perform sexually, your male characteristics or sex drive. Many couples report an improvement in their sex life, as they are more relaxed once the fear of pregnancy is gone. There is no increased risk of testicular or prostate cancer with a vasectomy.
Is it effective?
The vasectomy, if successful, will result in a man’s inability to father children. It is important to keep in mind that the only 100% effective form of birth control is avoidance of all sexual activity – abstinence. The goal of a successful vasectomy is that you will become sterile.
This is about 99.99% effective as there is always a rare risk of spontaneous reversal.
Are there risks and complications with a Vasectomy?
Yes, as with all medical procedures there are some possible risks and complications. All contraceptive methods carry some risks. Vasectomy is a very low risk procedure, but complications are possible, including but not limited to:
- Bleeding, swelling, pain, infection
- Sperm Granuloma, Chronic Post-Vasectomy Pain Syndrome, Congestion
- Spontaneous Reversal
Will my insurance cover a Vasectomy?
Most insurance plans cover Vasectomy. Our office will assist you in contacting your insurance carrier to verify your benefits and coverage prior to the procedure. If you are not covered by an insurance plan our staff will be happy to discuss payment options with you.