Potential Side Effects of a Vasectomy
Regardless of what method of contraception you and your partner choose they all have side effects, as does pregnancy! Vasectomy has no hormonal side effects and it is the most effective method of contraception available.
First of all please not that having a vasectomy should not affect your libido or sex life in anyway. Vasectomy is also not linked with prostate cancer.
1. Bleeding may occur, although it is much less likely with a no-scalpel technique. Both large and small hematomas (blood collections) are very rare, they only occur in approximately 1 in 1000 cases. It is more common that bruising will occur in your scrotal skin but this is painless and resolves by itself.
2. Infection is also a rare complication and will respond to antibiotics quickly if it does occur.
3. Sperm granuloma is a pea-sized (sometimes tender) lump on the vas tube at the vasectomy site. It is very common and does not cause problems very often. It’s presence serves to help keep pressure off the testicle so it may actually be a good thing and if a reversal was ever necessary it makes the reversal more likely to succeed.
4. Congestion, due to build-up of sperm and white blood cells upstream from or at the vasectomy site, can occur anytime after vasectomy, but usually goes away with use of an anti-inflammatory drug such as ibuprofen. This is the most common side effect we would see, 1-2% of men experience epididymitis at some stage after a vasectomy. We perform an open ended vasectomy (the lower end is left open) and this will decrease any chance of congestion or pressure.
5. PVPS or Post-Vasectomy Pain Syndrome is defined as chronic pain that occurs after a vasectomy. It’s a pain syndrome and has a range of symptoms. The incidence of pain after a vasectomy ranges, depending on symptoms, from 2 in 100 to 1 in 1000. The number of men that have post-vasectomy pain syndrome that will consider having interventions such as vasectomy reversals or neurolysis is <1%.
6. Recanalization is the development of a channel for sperm flow between the two cut ends of the vas. If this happens during the healing process (early), the semen never becomes sperm-free until the vasectomy is repeated. This is approx. 1 in 1000, but it is picked up on semen testing after your vasectomy. If recanalization happens late (months to years afterwards) an unplanned pregnancy could result. The long term failure rate of a vasectomy is approximately 1 in 2000.