8 Questions Men Commonly Ask About Vasectomies

Isn’t it ironic that men – who are more likely the ones to clam up during relationship talk – suddenly turn into the Grand Inquisitor when it comes to a scalpel near their scrotum?

“It’s a good thing we don’t limit the number of questions a man can ask during a vasectomy consultation, because they can certainly have a lot of them. And that’s great. We want to put them at ease and allow them to learn all the facts about the procedure,” said Dr. Nicholas Styn, urologist at N.E.O. Urology in Youngstown.

The truth of the matter is vasectomies are routine, safe procedures with very few risks and usually only mild, if any, side effects, Dr. Styn said.

That said, the procedure shouldn’t be entered into casually. Patients and their significant others are encouraged to ask questions to fully understand the process.

NEO Urology is running a March vasectomy promotion to correspond with the growing trend of men timing their vasectomies for the first week of the NCAA college basketball tournament. Recovery from a vasectomy typically involves two to three days of rest on the couch with an ice pack, an opportune time to watch the popular sporting event for many guys.

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March vasectomy patients are entered into a contest to win a big-screen television, and each also receives a t-shirt and voucher for a free pizza.

The first thing to consider about vasectomies is that they’re meant to permanently prevent a man from conceiving a child. Sounds pretty obvious, right? Dr. Styn says it’s important to emphasize that while there technically is a reversal procedure, it’s very expensive, it’s not covered by insurance and success rates are quite variable, so if you’re getting a vasectomy consider it to be a permanent fix.

So what else are men most commonly asking?

How does the procedure work? How bad will it hurt?

It’s typically done in the office under local anesthesia, and starts with a tiny incision on the underside of the scrotum. Inside the scrotum there’s a tube on each side called the vas deferens, which is cut or otherwise separated to prevent the two sides from coming in contact with each other. With the vas deferens disconnected, sperm is unable to pass through and exit the body. The procedure itself is relatively painless, but rest and ice packs are prescribed afterward to treat swelling and soreness in the area.

Will a vasectomy put me at higher risk for prostate cancer or other health issues?

It’s a common question, and the short answer is no. There have never been any scientific data or research papers showing a connection between vasectomies and prostate cancer. The stronger risk factor for prostate cancer is if there’s a family history – father, brother or uncle. Unrelated to vasectomies, those are the guys we’d want to start screening at a younger age.

What are the biggest risks and side effects?

The biggest complication would be for infection or excessive swelling or bleeding, and instances of these are very rare. We have everyone take an antibiotic after the procedure in an effort to help prevent an infection.

How will I know if the procedure worked?

The only way to tell is by checking a semen sample after the procedure. We ask patients to come back after two to three months or 20-30 ejaculations after the procedure and drop off a sample. We look at it in the office, and once that sample shows no sperm in the specimen then it’s clear.

Will anything come out when I ejaculate?

Having a vasectomy does not prevent the ejaculation function. The amount of sperm that is part of the ejaculate is a small percentage, and most patients will not notice any appreciable difference.

Will my testosterone or sex drive go down after my procedure?

With a vasectomy all you’re doing is blocking the exit of sperm out of the testicle. It has nothing to do with the function of the testosterone production.

What’s the recovery period like? And how long will I have to wait to have intercourse?

Rest, stay home from work and take it easy for two to three days after the procedure, and make sure the kids don’t jump on your lap. As long as the patient is feeling OK and is up to it, he can have intercourse after seven days.

Does insurance cover vasectomies?

For the most part it’s a covered procedure. Some insurance plans may have higher co-pays, and certain Medicaid and HMO products require a 30-day waiting period, so it’s best to check with your insurance provider before you come in to make sure you know precisely what your plan covers.

If you have any other questions about the vasectomy procedure or to schedule a consultation with Drs. Vincent Ricchiuti and Nicholas Styn, please call 330.729.9214.

Copyright 2021 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.