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 Having a vasectomy

Vasectomy is a method of birth control which renders the male partner sterile. The operation removes a small piece of the tube between the testicle and the penis, causing a blockage to the flow of sperms.

Vasectomy is the most efficient method of all forms of birth control, but should be considered irreversible, since even though reversal can be attempted years after the operation the results cannot be guaranteed.

 The operation is done under a short local anaesthetic: we use a technique called the "Li" method which uses only a tiny puncture in the skin of the scrotum and has been shown to have few local side effects. The vasectomy can be carried out at our clinics in London, Kent and Surrey: please phone (0800 0745118) or email  you wish details of costs and how to arrange a vasectomy.

Below are listed a number of questions often asked about vasectomy and which you should understand before undergoing the procedure.

How long will I be off work for after the operation?

I usually advise a few days off work and two weeks off sports. Most men will however be comfortable enough to work and travel the day after the operation, but some develop swelling or soreness.

One patient of mine went steeplechasing two days later, which is a good advertisement for the technique but not a course of action I should recommend!

What follow up is needed?

Usually there is no skin stitch to be removed. Sperm counts are requested at twelve and fourteen weeks after the operation to ensure sterility. Other methods of contraception must be used until confirmation of these sperm counts being negative has been obtained.

Will the operation affect my sex life or orgasm?

There is no effect of vasectomy on either of these, either positive or negative. Occasionally men who have marital or sexual difficulty will seek a vasectomy in the hope that matters will improve, but the results are predictably disappointing. Very few men notice a difference in the quality or quantity of their ejaculate, since the sperms themselves constitute only a tiny part.

What complications can occur?

As with any operation there is a chance of bruising or infection: this is less than one in twenty with the Li technique. If this happens, medical advice is necessary.

Rarely, men develop long term discomfort in the testicles after vasectomy. We do not fully understand why this problem occurs but it does seem more common in men who have had previous testicular pain and possibly in men who are uncertain over their choice of vasectomy as a mode of contraception.

Does vasectomy increase the risk of other diseases?

There is no proof of an increase in heart disease or testicular tumours after vasectomy, as had been suggested in the past.

There is no link between vasectomy and prostate cancer, but men  should consider having an annual prostate cancer blood test (PSA) from  around the age of fifty onwards.

 Why is a post operative sperm count required?

The remaining portion of the vas deferens inside the body can take several months to empty of sperms, so it is important to make sure the "reservoir" is empty before discarding other methods of birth control.

There is a small risk of the two ends of the vas deferens rejoining in the few months following the operation and again this will usually be picked up by the post operative sperm count.

Is the operation failsafe?

No operation is completely without failures! As mentioned above, early rejoining of the vase deferens can occur. Also, despite the surgeonís best efforts, nature sometimes manages to overcome the blockage years after the procedure has been carried out.

Nonetheless the late failure rate is less than one in two thousand and this makes vasectomy the most certain form of birth control.

The advice in this web site is made freely available for general use. The facts and opinions stated cannot however be taken as valid or safe for any individual patient unless specifically instructed by Mr Muir.

Copyright (c) 1999-2001 GH Muir. All rights reserved.