Vasectomy is a male form of contraception which is very safe. It is usually performed under either local anaesthesia or general anaesthesia. Prior to any planned vasectomy patients should be advised that they should consider other contraceptive means.

Patients are also advised during a vasectomy consultation that there is a failure of the procedure which may be early failure, where motile sperm is found within the sperm test after surgery. In these instances the surgery would usually need to be re-done.

In other cases there is a spontaneous re-cannalisation where the sperm tubes can join up in possibly 1 : 2,500, but overall is a very safe technique. The other risks of surgery are bleeding, infection and bruising, which generally occurs in less than 5% of patients. On occasions it may take quite some time before the sperm disappears from the ejaculation, and this is a phenomenon known as ‘rare non-motile sperm’.

Patients are advised used to give a sperm test at 14 and 16 weeks following vasectomy. If the sperm tubes (vas deferens) are easily felt the procedure can be performed under local anaesthesia as a day case. In some cases where the sperm tubes are difficult to feel or the patient has needle-phobia, then the vasectomy can be performed under general anaesthetic.

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