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Urologic Conditions & Treatments

Vasectomy Chattanooga TN

What is a vasectomy?

A vasectomy is minor surgery to block sperm from reaching the semen that is ejaculated from the penis. Semen still exists, but it has no sperm in it, making it infertile and incapable of fertilizing a female egg. After a vasectomy the testes still make sperm, but they are soaked up by the body.

Each year, over half a million U.S. men have this surgery for birth control. A vasectomy prevents pregnancy better than any other method of birth control, except abstinence.

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What are the benefits of having a vasectomy?

What is the value of not worrying about getting your wife or girlfriend pregnant? A vasectomy is nearly 100 percent effective in sterilizing the man.

  • Vasectomies are nearly 100 percent effective in preventing pregnancy.
  • Vasectomies are outpatient procedures with easy recovery and low risk.
  • Vasectomies cost far less than female sterilization (tubal ligation).
  • Vasectomies are far less expensive than long-term birth control for women.
  • If your partner would have health concerns in a future pregnancy, a vasectomy eliminates the possibility.
  • If you have certain genetic risk factors, this is a way to ensure you will not pass them on.
  • You will not need to use birth control, such as a condom, during sex.

vasectomy Chattanooga tn

WOULD I BE A GOOD CANDIDATE FOR A VASECTOMY?

Any man can have a vasectomy. The important criteria, of course, are that you must be sure you do not want to have any children or more children. While the procedure is reversible, this isn’t always successful.

How is a vasectomy performed?

Vasectomies are performed in our UT Urology offices. They can be performed under light sedation and local anesthesia or full sedation. We’ll discuss your options during your consultation.

There are two methods for performing a vasectomy:

Convention vasectomy

For this traditional method, your UT Urology surgeon makes one or two small cuts in the skin of the scrotum to access the vas deferens. The vas deferens is cut and a small piece is usually removed. This leaves a short gap between the two ends. Next, we usually cauterize the cut ends of the vas deferens, and then we tie the ends closed with sutures. These steps are then repeated on the other vas deferens, either using the same incision or through a second one. The scrotal incisions may be closed with dissolvable stitches or may not require more than Steri-strips.

No-scalpel vasectomy

For this method, your UT Urology surgeon feels for the vas deferens under the skin of the scrotum and holds it in place with a small clamp. A tiny hole is made in the skin and stretched open so the vas deferens can be gently lifted out. It is cut, cauterized, and tied close, and then it is replaced in the scrotum. The tiny hole generally only needs a Steri-strip to close.

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What should I expect after my vasectomy procedure?

You will have some slight discomfort after this procedure. Over-the-counter pain medication should be sufficient to mask your discomfort. Any severe pain can be a sign of an infection and needs immediate attention. Otherwise, you may have pain that is sometimes equated to what you feel for a few minutes after getting hit in the scrotum by a ball or other object.

You return home immediately after your surgery, and you should take it take it easy for a day or two. Swelling and pain can be helped with an ice pack or cold compress on the scrotum, and by wearing form fitting underwear. In most cases, you can return to work the next day. Most men heal fully in less than a week.

ARE VASECTOMIES PAINFUL?

The procedure is not painful itself. You receive local anesthesia with a small needle into the skin of your scrotum. Afterwards, you will have some bruising, slight swelling, and pain. This improves and passes within just a couple of days for most men. It helps to apply ice packs to the scrotum for the first two days, and you’ll have to ditch the boxers for tighter briefs for at least two days after your procedure. You’ll need to lay low for the first 24 hours, and avoid sports, weightlifting, and heavy work for about one week. Not heeding this advice can cause bleeding in the scrotum, and you don’t want that. No sex for one week.

WHAT ARE THE ALTERNATIVES TO HAVING A VASECTOMY?

For men, the only alternative to a vasectomy is using birth control. If you want to be sure you are no longer fertile, this is the only option. Contrary to many wives’ tales, vasectomies do not affect your ability to ejaculate or achieve orgasm. They do not affect your testosterone output. They do not increase your risk of prostate or testicular cancer.

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Is a vasectomy reversible?

A vasectomy can be reversed by using microsurgery to reconnect the vas deferens. But this is not always successful. These procedures are also not covered by insurance, as you elected to have the vasectomy, so you would elect to reverse it.

It’s better to be sure the time is right for this procedure, and not go into it thinking you could reverse it sometime down the road.

HOW LONG BEFORE IT IS SAFE TO ELIMINATE BIRTH CONTROL?

Sperm can still get out for a little while after your procedure, so you need to continue using birth control for a bit. We will test your semen for sperm after you’ve had between 10-20 ejaculations. Once these tests show your semen is sperm-free you can stop using birth control.

DO I STILL MAKE SPERM AFTER A VASECTOMY?

Yes, your body continues to produce sperm in your testicles. But that sperm can’t get from the testicles into the semen because both vas deferens tubes are cut and closed off permanently.

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WILL I STILL BE ABLE TO EJACULATE AFTER A VASECTOMY?

Ejaculation and sperm don’t have to be together. Your sexual function and drive are not impacted in any way. You simply no longer can get a woman pregnant.

WILL MY TESTOSTERONE LEVEL DROP AFTER A VASECTOMY?

Testosterone levels are not affected by a vasectomy. This is because testosterone is made in a different cell in the testes and is not delivered into the rest of the body through the vas deferens, which are the tubes that are cut to prevent sperm from joining the semen.

DO I HAVE A GREATER RISK OF PROSTATE CANCER IF I HAVE A VASECTOMY?

There is no proven link between prostate cancer and a vasectomy. All men are at risk for developing prostate cancer, regardless of their fertility or lack thereof. About 1 in 9 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime, but only 1 in 39 die from the disease.

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Can I have a vasectomy if I am single?

There are no restrictions on who can have a vasectomy. If you are a single man and you know you do not want to have any children, and do not want to take the risk of getting a woman pregnant, then a vasectomy is a good option for lifetime birth control.

But that is the question to consider. Are you absolutely sure you do not want to have any children? A vasectomy is reversible, or a man can have his sperm frozen for possible later use, but neither of these options are completely reliable, plus they are not usually covered by insurance.

Bottom line? If you have any potential doubt about wanting to one day have a child, you should not have a vasectomy at this time.

How long after my vasectomy before I can assume I am fully sterile?

Patients can have sex again after about a week. But it’s important to understand that your semen will still have sperm in it at this point. After a vasectomy, new sperm won’t be able to get into the semen, but there will still be lots of sperm “in the pipeline,” and it will take some time to fully clear them out. You’ll need to still use birth control during this time.

We will conduct a semen analysis to check for sperm in your ejaculate. It is usually a period of three months or 20 ejaculates before we recommend having this semen analysis. Even after that period, 20 percent of men still have sperm in their semen, so don’t assume you are fully sterile until the analysis proves it.

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Will my testosterone levels fall after a vasectomy?

There is a lot of misinformation surrounding vasectomies. Men avoid the procedure because they relate it to their dog being neutered. But the procedures are completely different. Dog neutering is castration, not a vasectomy.

In a vasectomy, the sperm is simply stopped from getting down into the semen; it is not completely removing your testicles. Since you will still have your testicles, where testosterone is produced, your levels will remain unchanged. Because of that, there will not be any changes in physical features affected by testosterone production: facial hair, muscle mass, voice depth, etc.

Is there a higher risk of developing prostate cancer after having a vasectomy?

Another bit of false information. There have been dozens of studies on this, and there is no evidence a vasectomy in any way changes a man’s chances of developing prostate cancer.

The reality is, prostate cancer is not uncommon in all men. Men with a family history of prostate cancer have a 1 in 3 chance of developing it. Overall, men have a 1 in 9 chance of developing it. Fortunately, later prostate cancer (after the age of 50) tends to grow very slowly and can be managed. About 80 percent of men who reach the age of 80 have cancer cells in their prostate.

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The highly specialized urologists at UT Urology are widely respected among the U.S. urology community and regional leaders in providing state of the art diagnosis and treatment of prostate and urinary tract diseases. We are top rated urologists in the Chattanooga, Tennessee, Alabama and Northern Georgia area. We will listen, answer your questions, explain your condition and provide stellar services to address your specific needs.

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