Common Questions About No-Needle,
No-Scalpel, No-Suture Vasectomy

WHAT IS IT?
Vasectomy is a medical procedure performed for permanent sterilization for men. You should be sure you do not want to father more children. The operation includes making a single opening into the scrotal sac (the bag that contains the testicles) and blocking the sperm ducts so that sperm are not included in the ejaculation (release of fluid). This prevents pregnancy. The procedure we do is an advanced technique that uses special instruments. No needle is used for numbing. No scalpel is required, and no stitches are needed. The opening is only three eighths of an inch long. Many ask about “laser vasectomy”. There is no such procedure..

WHAT HAPPENS TO THE SPERM?
The body continues to make sperm, but they have no place to go. They die, dissolve, and are then absorbed by the body. It's just like a man who never ejaculates. Sperm are still made but the body clears them away.

WHAT IS THE EFFECT ON ACTIVITY?
Most men experience minor, temporary discomfort and swelling following the operation. We recommend that you take it easy for the day of the procedure and for two days after the surgery. No sex, pumping weights, riding a bike or jogging for at least one week.

WHAT IS THE OPERATION'S EFFECTIVENESS?
Overall, 1/1200 vasectomies will fail. You must use other contraception for at least three months after the procedure until the doctor has examined two separate semen specimens and found them to be sperm free. If two checks of the ejaculated fluid are negative, it is very likely that you will have permanent success. It is extremely rare that the tubes will ever grow back together if they have not done so by three months.

WILL A VASECTOMY AFFECT THE ENJOYMENT OF SEX?
Erections, climaxes, and ejaculations continue after vasectomy as they did before. Sometimes the removal of fear of accidental pregnancy may add a greater sense of pleasure.

IS THE OPERATION REVERSIBLE?
Vasectomy should not be considered reversible. Research is continuing, but presently, there is no method that can assure totally restoring fertility. Current techniques of reversal are only 80% effective. If you have any doubts, please discuss other temporary birth control measures that are available. It is also possible to freeze your sperm for future use. Agencies in Flint and Detroit do this. There is also the possibility of using a mail-in service to store sperm ( www.CryoChoice.com ). Ask for further information if you are interested. Click here for Dr. Pfenninger's newspaper column on this topic.

ARE THERE ANY COMPLICATIONS OR RISKS?
In about 5% of the cases there will be some type of complication although usually minor. These problems can usually be cleared up by prompt medical treatment. A small blood vessel may continue to bleed inside the scrotum, or there may be an infection. There will generally be some bruising. Occasionally there may be a little blood in the ejaculate. You will probably feel a lump on both sides for 2-3 months until total healing takes place. Sometimes sperm can leak out the ends of the cut vas and cause an irritation called a sperm granuloma. Treatment is not usually necessary. Other complications are more rare. One in 1200 will fail and need repeat surgery. Some men (less than 1%) can experience a chronic ache in the sacks or groin. It is more of an intermittent nuisance than anything else, but rarely, it could require surgery.

HOW MUCH PAIN WILL THERE BE?
The area where the procedure will be performed is numbed with the special instrument ( MadaJet ) that “blows” Lidocaine into the skin. Click here for a video showing this device as reported by TV-5 . There will be no discomfort for about 1½ - 2 hours. It only takes 30 seconds to numb the area. After the procedure, if you don't overdo it, there generally is only a slight ache. Some men feel pulling up in the groin for a few days.

HOW LONG DOES THE PROCEDURE TAKE?
When you come in for surgery, it will take approximately 10 minutes to get you ready, 10 minutes to do the procedure, and 10 minutes to put on the dressings and do the paperwork, so about 30 minutes . Your partner may be in the room and watch if she wants or wait in the waiting room. Someone needs to drive you in and take you home if you take any relaxing pills like Valium (diazepam).

WHO, WHERE, AND HOW MUCH?
Vasectomies are performed in the office , and the fee includes the surgery, two follow-up semen checks, and outpatient visits for any complications in the first year. There is also a pre-operative counseling visit. You and your partner will need to come in to watch a 30-minute videotape just before the visit. The doctor will then spend about 15 minutes to discuss your questions and examine you. There will be a charge for the counseling visit and another charge for the vasectomy procedure itself. Check with your insurance. In most instances they will pay for the procedure ( diagnosis code Z30.2 and procedure code 55250 ). Semen checks cost $67.00 each at outside labs, so be sure to bring them back to this office. Here, there is no further charge. No appointment is needed for the semen check, but call ahead to be sure a physician will be there.

HOW CAN A VASECTOMY BE ARRANGED?
Call The Medical Procedures Center (989-631-4545 or 877-VAS-CHOICE) and schedule a counseling appointment. Your partner is encouraged to be present. Permits will be signed, further explanations will be given and a short exam will be carried out. A patient education video will be shown (no actual surgery is included). It is best to wait at least a few days after the counseling visit to think over what was discussed before doing the procedure. However, to avoid delays you can schedule the surgery date at the same time that you schedule your counseling appointment . Please feel free to ask any questions or come in just to talk. If you have not done so, you an go to vasectomymichigan.com for all of our vasectomy information.

WHAT OTHER METHODS OF CONTRACEPTION ARE THERE?

Just because you have a counseling session does not mean that you have to have a vasectomy. For women, methods of birth control such as the IUD (Mirena and Paragard), the insertable rod (Implanon), diaphragms, birth control pills, the ESSURE tubal insert, etc. can all be discussed. In trying to decide between a vasectomy or tubal ligation, remember that no one has ever died from a vasectomy. Complications from a tubal, such as ectopic pregnancy, can be more serious. Vasectomy is much cheaper and just as effective as a tubal. One out of 1200 vasectomies fail, and one out of 500 tubal ligations will fail. With vasectomy, men's semen can be checked afterwards so failures can be identified before a woman becomes pregnant. Even Ann Landers says that “all else being equal,” vasectomy is the best way to go! A videotape is available in the office and will be viewed at the time of counseling. A short video showing the no-needle anesthesia method can be seen by going to the website and clicking on the TV-5 News segment about Dr. Pfenninger and this technique.