Vasectomy - Medical Negligence Lawyers

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A vasectomy is a surgical procedure in which the tubes that bring sperm to the urinary tract from the testes are divided and sometimes tied so that sperm cannot get past the division and cannot fertilize the female egg. The man is considered surgical sterile. It is a good way for a couple who definitely don’t want to have children to make that happen. The vasectomy is much safer than a female sterilization and this is why it is often done. When a vasectomy is done, it is considered a permanent form of birth control.

Vasectomies have become increasingly popular since it was developed in the 1800s. Now about 600,000 men elect to have a vasectomy each year in the US. Most are done by urologists with 15 percent done by family doctors. It costs between $300 and $1000 and insurance usually pays for it. Sometimes sperm is frozen in case the couple changes their mind and might want artificial insemination.

The procedure involves division of the vas deferens that carries sperm from the epididymis to the urinary tract. A small incision is made in the front of the scrotum after applying some local anaesthesia. The vas deferens is then cut and sometimes cauterized or tied off. Contraception is necessary until there are no sperm in the semen. The man must deliver a semen sample to a laboratory in order t to tell that the sperm has disappeared.

There is a no scalpel technique that was developed forty years ago in China. It is somewhat less invasive than a regular vasectomy. The opening is smaller and special tools are used to create a less painful vasectomy with less bleeding. It has been used in the US since the late 1980s.

There are risks with any surgery and a vasectomy is no exception, although there have been no deaths associated with the procedure. In comparison, there are approximately 20 deaths a year associated with tubal ligation, which is female sterilization.

The biggest complication with a vasectomy is infection, followed by bleeding. There can be pain that is prolonged due to inflammation from sperm leaking out of the proximal vas deferens. The epididymis can become congested and can develop epididymitis. Rest and the taking of anti-inflammatory medication can usually take care of the problem. There were early reports that having a vasectomy increased the risk of prostate cancer and heart disease. This was re-examined by the National Institutes of Health and no correlation between the surgery and the diseases was found. Immune illnesses were found not to be connected to vasectomy.

Some men have fears over having a vasectomy that they avoid having one. They don’t realize that there is not much pain from the procedure. Pain in the genitals is always a fear. Men fear a loss of masculinity after a vasectomy and don’t realize that their hormonal status will be unaffected by the vasectomy. They will not have a loss of potency either. The ejaculate will basically be the same size. Sex will be significantly more enjoyable without the fear of pregnancy. Women are more appreciative that their male partner took the initiative to take care of birth control rather than the woman.

Men can fear that the procedure will not be successful. The truth is that unless a couple is completely abstinent, no method will be 100 percent successful; however, the vasectomy approaches one hundred percent success rate in preventing pregnancy.

There are always other alternatives to a vasectomy if the man chooses not to have a vasectomy but most are less successful in preventing pregnancy. There is the tubal ligation for women as well as the IUD, birth control pills and the diaphragm. There are also barrier methods that men use, such as the condom.

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The author of the substantive medical writing on this website is Dr. Christine Traxler MD whose biography can be read here