After the Operation
AFTER THE OPERATION
The nurse will spend a few minutes with you and give you after care advice and answer any questions you may have. You may also be asked to fill in a satisfaction questionnaire about your experience at the Surgical Centre. Thank you in advance, as this helps us to improve our service. You can leave when you feel ready.
COMMON Qs and As
Below are common questions patients ask us:
- Do I still need to use contraception? Yes. Please be aware that you must not abandon contraception until we have informed you in writing that your semen sample is negative for sperm.
- Can the operation fail? Yes. The procedure occasionally fails to render the patient sterile due to early re-joining of one or both tubes. This happens in about 1:200 cases. Your semen analysis at 16 weeks will pick this up. Late re-joining can also occur but is rare, believed to occur in 1:2000 vasectomies. Because it is very rare, further semen tests are not routinely done. Unfortunately, it is usually picked up if your partner becomes pregnant. You should contact us if this happens.
- How and when do I do my sperm test? Post- op semen test- This is essential to check that your operation has been successful. You will be provided with a small container and a request form after the operation for you to use to do your sperm test. Please produce one semen specimen by masturbation no sooner than 16 weeks after your operation. Please put that date in your diary, as no reminder will be sent. Condoms should not be used for that purpose. It is estimated that men need to ejaculate at least 24 times before the test to clear the sperm that are already present in the tubes. It is also advised you have a period of abstinence between 2-7 days before doing the test. You are required to drop your sample directly to the haematology lab at RCHT (entrance next to the ED) before noon Monday- Friday, ideally within an hour of producing your sample. However, that is not possible, up to 4 hours later is acceptable. You will be informed of the result in writing about a fortnight later. Most men are cleared on their first sample. However, about 20% of men will have a positive first test. We shall notify you of this and ask you to provide another sample. We will tell how when to do that in your letter. You will be given the all clear in writing once we receive confirmation of a negative result.
- What if the tests are still positive? Semen analysis- If several of the post op semen tests still show presence of sperm, we will request a fresh semen analysis. This looks at specific numbers and whether the sperm is motile or not (like a fertility test). You will be sent an appointment directly from the hospital with specific instructions on how to do your sample.
- When can I resume intercourse? One week after. This allows time for the tubes to remain sealed.
- Do I need to take painkillers? We recommend you take regular ‘over the counter’ painkillers as soon as you get home and do so for a few days. Keep the wound dry for 48 hours if at all possible.
- When can get back to work or exercise? It is advisable that you make arrangements for light work for up to 2 weeks after your operation. No sports, heavy exercise or swimming is advised during that time.
- Can the operation be reversed in the future? This is possible to do but the results are not good. It is best to regard a vasectomy as a permanent procedure. Vasectomy reversal is not available under the NHS.
- Will my sex life be affected? Sexuality and virility- This is not affected. You will continue to have normal ejaculates but without sperm.