ASK THE DOCTOR: Vasectomies a safe option for men

Many couples reach a point in their relationship when they decide they don’t want any more children, or that they don’t want any at all.

Different birth control options are available for women and men. Deciding which one is best for you is a personal decision — one that should be made after careful consideration and research.

Using condoms or birth control pills are among some of the more common forms of birth control. More permanent methods for women include IUDs and tubal ligation, a surgery in which a woman’s fallopian tubes are tied and cut causing sterilization.

For men, the most effective option is a vasectomy, an outpatient procedure done in a medical office setting. It is a safer, less expensive procedure that causes fewer complications than tubal ligation in women.

Here are some answers to frequently asked questions to explain the details about vasectomies and dispel myths about the procedure.

What is a vasectomy?
Vasectomy is a safe and effective permanent birth control method for men. It is a simple procedure performed in an outpatient setting. A healthcare provider numbs the area and makes a small incision into the scrotum to block sperm from passing into the semen. This procedure has been used for many years and has very few side effects.

How effective is a vasectomy?
Vasectomies are extremely effective. Annually fewer than 1 percent of men who have a vasectomy will cause a pregnancy.

However, because some sperm remain beyond the blocked part of the tubes, the procedure is not effective right away. You must use another form of birth control (like a condom) until the sperm are gone. This can take up to three months.

How does it work?
A small hole is made in the scrotum to reach both sperm transport tubes. The tubes are then tied and cut or sealed. The small opening heals quickly.

What are the benefits of having a vasectomy?

Vasectomy is safe, convenient, and permanent.

What are the downsides of having a vasectomy?
Vasectomy is a permanent method of birth control. A man should not have a vasectomy if there is even a small chance he may wish to have children in the future.

Men need to be cautioned that a vasectomy is not a protection against sexually transmitted infections.

Is the procedure painful?
Some short-term tenderness and bruising may occur. Overall, there is little pain and a low risk of infection with vasectomy.

Do men lose sexual function after having a vasectomy?
No, vasectomies do not cause impotence. In fact, many men have an increased sex drive after a vasectomy because they are not worried about accidental pregnancies.

Sanjay Razdan, MD, MCh, is the director of the Urology Center of Excellence at Jackson South Community Hospital. Dr. Razdan is well known for his expertise in advanced surgical procedures, including laparoscopic and robotic surgery. He was one of the first urologists in Miami-Dade County to perform the state-of-the-art daVinci S Robotic Radical Prostatectomy for patients with prostate cancer. For more information or to schedule an appointment, call 305-585- 4URO or visit jacksonsouth.org.


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