Vasectomy is a minor surgical daystay procedure performed for male contraception. It interrupts the tubes (vasa deferens) that carry the sperm from the testicles to the prostate and urethra (outflow tube).
The procedure involves instillation of local anaesthetic, skin puncture and division of the vas on each side. Each end is tied back on itself to reduce the risk of failure (recanalisation or re-forming of the tube).
Vasectomy has a higher success rate than other common forms of contraception such as the oral contraceptive pill and tubal ligation. As with all surgical procedures, complications are possible (but not common) and include infection, contraception failure due to recanalisation of the vasa, bleeding, formation of sperm granuloma (a tender lump at the division point of the vas) and post vasectomy pain syndrome.
After the operation, rest is advised for the first few days and vigorous exercise avoided for the first week. Supportive underwear and an ice pack may help in addition to analgesic medications.
Follow-up is important because sperm must be cleared out downstream of the point that the tubes are tied off. Semen samples (usually three over several weeks) are required to ensure that no viable sperm remain. Alternative contraception is required until the "all clear" is given.