Vasectomy is the name given to male sterilisation.
It has been chosen by millions of men all over the world and is permanent, safe and effective.
How does it work ?
It involves removing a small piece of the pipe that carries sperm cells from each testicle to the penis. This pipe is called the Vas Deferens. When this piece of pipe is removed sperm cells cannot reach the penis. The testicle is not affected in any way and the man’s sex drive is not affected. If anything it often improves with the security provided by the operation.
Erection is also not affected.
It is the most reliable method of contraception available – failures are very rare. Semen is still produced on ejaculation.
It is a permanent method of sterilisation – reversal is possible but not always effective, and the couple should be happy that their family is complete before proceeding. It is also available to a man or a couple who are certain that they never want to have children. The man should be happy with the permanent nature of the procedure.
Most importantly there is a four month period after the operation where contraception is still required. This is because there are sperm cells stored downstream from the surgery and these must be flushed out by repeated ejaculation. Two semen tests are done after this four month period to ensure complete clearance and then contraception can be discontinued.
Methods of Vasectomy
The operation is done under local anaesthetic. This involves an injection into the skin – not unlike the anaesthetic given by the dentist into the gum. Once the injection is done there is no pain.
The vas deferens has to be brought out to the outside during the operation and this involves splitting the skin. There are two ways of doing this:
- Conventional incision of about 1cm using a scalpel.
- Splitting the skin with a special scissors – the ‘no scalpel’ technique.
The pipe is then brought to the outside and a small piece is removed with sealing of the remaining ends of the pipe. No sutures are required.
We can provide either the conventional or no scalpel technique.
Overall there are very few side effects.
- There is a little pain for a day or two after the operation which would respond to Paracetamol.
- There is a small risk of a lump of blood forming within the scrotum due to a leak of blood at the operation site. This can occur over the few days after the procedure. This can be quite painful and limit activity and it takes the body one to two weeks to reabsorb the blood. The risk is about 2%. To reduce the risk of bleeding, rest after the operation is important.
- There is a very rare risk of failure but vasectomy is about a hundred times more reliable than the pill and ten times more reliable than female sterilisation.
- There is a very rare risk of persisting ache after the operation – we have seen two cases in twenty-five years of doing vasectomies.
Who will do the operation
Dr William O’Brien runs a modern successful Dublin vasectomy clinic in Knocklyon Shopping Centre. He has been in practice since 1986 and has been performing vasectomies since 1991. He has performed many hundreds of these operations.
He qualified from UCD medical school in 1979 and holds membership of two specialist medical bodies – the College of General Practitioners and the College of Physicians. He performs vasectomies for the Irish Family Planning Association.
Preparations for the operation
- You should shave the pubic hair the day beforehand.
- There is no need to fast.
- If you are very nervous we can provide a few sedative tablets to be taken beforehand.
- You can drive yourself home after the operation if you have not taken a sedative.
After the operation
Complete rest for a day or two and then nothing strenuous FOR 5-7 DAYS.
You will be able to contact the doctor by phone if there are any post operative problems.
Once you have decided that vasectomy is for you we ask you to come in and meet us. The doctor will introduce himself and explain the operation and preparations and side effects. You can ask any questions and can become more relaxed about the procedure. If you are happy to skip this or have been counselled by your own GP we can give you an appointment directly for the operation. We can do the operation on most days of the week.