Even the most common medical procedures have potential risks and complications. Vasectomies are no exception. Although complications are rare, prospective patients should be aware that there are potential risks. The popular vasectomy outpatient surgery is a permanent birth control method that is more cost-efficient, less invasive and lower risk than female surgical procedures. If you are considering a vasectomy, talk to your doctor about all the possible complications.
Surgical and Post-Surgical Complications
While a vasectomy is consisdered a safe procedure, there can be complications. One surgical complication is an allergic reaction to the local anesthetic. Other surgical risks include hematomas, or bleeding inside the scrotum area; or, infection and allergic reactions to the suture material.
Some patients experience complications in the immediate days and weeks after the procedure. These types of complications may include post-operative pain in the scrotum and bruising or swelling in the groin area. In normal cases, these symptoms will disappear within a week. Some men see blood in their semen, which often appears brownish in color, one to two weeks after the surgery. Others have infections at the actual surgical site, which can normally be healed with antibiotics.
Long-Term Vasectomy Complications
Although long-term complications are rare, men should consider and be aware of the possible risks of the procedure.
Epididymitis and Chronic Orchialagia
Epididymitis is one of the more common complications of a vasectomy procedure. It occurs when the narrow tube behind the testicle, or epididymis, becomes swollen and inflamed. Chronic orchialagia occurs when the epididymis is clogged with fluid, such as dead sperm. This complication is also referred to as congestion.
Physical or Psychological Difficulties
Some men experience physical or psychological sexual difficulties after a vasectomy. Counseling or therapy may help relieve this problem if it is based on an emotional cause. In rare cases, the vasectomy surgery does not block sperm flow or the sperm tubes grow back together. If this happens, the patient will still be able to impregnate his partner. If you are concerned about this, your doctor can conduct a semen analysis several months after your procedure.
Other Long-Term Problems
Other long-term complications may include sperm granulomas and chronic testicular pain. Sperm granulomas are painless lumps that form at the end of the vas. They are typically caused by sperm leakage from the surgical cut at the testicle area. These lumps do not cause any major damage, but they can be irritating and scary. Most disappear over time by themselves. Chronic testicular pain, or post-vasectomy pain, can be caused by obstruction of the epididymis, pinched nerves or from scar tissue from the surgery.
After-Surgery Care to Prevent Complications
You may be able to prevent issues and problems after your vasectomy by following your doctor's post-surgery instructions and orders. Some common post-vasectomy after-care procedures include using ice packs for several days after the surgery to help with pain and swelling. Most doctors recommend that their patients wear tight-fitting underwear and support the scrotum area with bandages. To prevent the risk of bleeding or post-surgical blood clots, do not take ibuprofen or aspirin products for at least one week after the surgery. Avoid sexual activities for about a week after the surgery, as well.
Consider all the risks associated with a vasectomy before electing to have this procedure. Be certain that you really don't want be a father in the future. The vasectomy reversal procedure is not guaranteed to work, and it can be more complicated and risky than the original vasectomy.