Vasectomy is a form of contraception for men that involves the surgeon cutting the tubes that transfer sperm from the testes to the prostrate. It is one of the most effective methods of preventing pregnancy in couples, although cannot be claimed to be 100% effective.
The vasectomy is a relatively minor operation, requiring only a small incision (3-4mm) in the scrotum to access the tubes. Given the relatively small incision needed, the operation can be done under either local or general anaesthetic.
Despite being a small operation, the procedure is a significant decision for males and their partners. Ideally, a couple would only choose this option if they are certain they have finished having children. While vasectomies can be surgically reversed, it is a difficult procedure to reconstruct small tubes and not always successful. As such, the decision to have a vasectomy is best taken with an assumption of being irreversible.
One downside of the procedure is the reasonably high probability of post-operative pain. Around 10-15% of males will experience discomfort after the operation, in some rarer cases this paid can be acute and debilitating. Ongoing pain may be felt for years after the operation, although this is rare.