Vasectomies: Have a Ball Watching March Madness
Posted 2/24/2016 by UHBlog
Once you’re sure you’re finished having kids, a vasectomy is a safe and reliable birth control option. The procedure is quick and simple, but requires a few days of rest afterward. That’s why many guys schedule their vasectomies before a four-day weekend on the couch watching the NCAA March Madness college basketball tournament.
A vasectomy is a simple procedure that prevents the release of sperm into a man’s ejaculate. Although the procedure often can be reversed to make a man fertile again, a vasectomy should be considered a permanent sterilization, says urologist Donald Bodner, MD.
“Before a guy has a vasectomy done, he should be absolutely certain that he – and his partner – are comfortable with the idea of never having any more children,” Dr. Bodner says.
A vasectomy refers to the cutting or tying of the vas deferens – two spaghetti-thin tubes that carry sperm from the testicles to be mixed into semen and released during ejaculation.
“A vasectomy doesn’t typically impact sexual function,” Dr. Bodner says. “And, because sperm makes up a very small portion of the semen, there is no noticeable difference in the amount of ejaculate released before and after a vasectomy.”
Usually, swelling and bruising – along with some pain or discomfort – are the only side effects of the procedure.
During the procedure, the vas deferens are easily accessible through the scrotum, Dr. Bodner explains. Typically, tiny punctures or incisions are made in the scrotum, and a special tool is used to expose the tubes through the incision. They are then snipped and/or tied off to make the passage of sperm impossible.
“A vasectomy is usually done right in the doctor’s office under local anesthesia and takes only about a half hour,” he says. “Recovery time is pretty short. If the procedure is done on a Friday, the guy can usually go back to work on Monday. But we do suggest that guys take it easy for a couple days and minimize physical activity because of the discomfort, and to minimize the chance of unexpected complications.”
That, Dr. Bodner says, may be why urologists across the country report a spike in scheduled vasectomies as March Madness starts off with a four-day televised marathon.
According to Dr. Bodner, residual sperm can remain in the channel for as many as 30 ejaculations. That’s why after a vasectomy another form of contraception is recommended for a few months.
Although vasectomies are considered permanent, Dr. Bodner says it’s possible to reverse one by reconnecting the vas deferens – particularly if the reversal is done within five years of the procedure. Most insurance plans will cover vasectomies, but they typically don’t cover reversals.
“Because it is considered to be a permanent procedure, the decision on whether to have a vasectomy should be thought through very carefully,” he says. “To be on the safe side, some guys will bank some of their sperm.”
Donald Bodner, MD is a urologist at University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center. You can request an appointment with Dr. Bodner or any University Hospitals doctor online.