Snip Snip
November 26, 2005 6:44 AM   Subscribe

I'm considering getting the big "V" -- yup, a Vasectomy. However, as a general rule I've kept razor sharp knifes away from that part of my body. Anyone have experience with this that you'd care to share?

Specifically: Tell me about (1) Pain during the procedure, (2) Pain after the procedure, and (3) any side effects that follow (i.e., performance or 'drive' issues). Thanks.
posted by crapples to Health & Fitness (28 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I've had three friends go through it, and they all seemed to have the same experience: first, everyone they know says it's no big deal in terms of pain and that it'll change their life drastically for the better. Then, when they do in fact have lots of pain for the first few weeks (and longer than the doctor says to expect to), the same people are like, "oh, yeah, that happened to me, too." Then, once the pain and complications actually do go away, the newly worry-free (of a sort) sex is supposed to be amazing. One of these friends has since corroborated this pattern in several of his post-snip acquaintances.
posted by kimota at 7:30 AM on November 26, 2005

Oh, they all said the pain during the procedure was minimal (mostly the sensations were weird and freaky, but not outright painful).
posted by kimota at 7:32 AM on November 26, 2005

I can't say I've experienced this procedure myself, but I know several men who have. They all came through it just fine and one friend of mine even had it successfully reversed after a few years. I know that's a (ahem) sensitive area to consider allowing a blade near, but from a medical perspective, a vasectomy is a common and routine procedure with a very low statistical likelihood of complication.
posted by chudmonkey at 7:35 AM on November 26, 2005

Paging Ryvar
posted by terrapin at 7:38 AM on November 26, 2005

Sigh, it's like medical day on askmefi...

Anyhow, 1. pain during the procedure should be minimal. lidocaine is a wonderful thing.

2. pain afterwards is dependent on a number of things. First of all, how will you are to just rest and ice will play a role. If you are out mowing the lawn a hemotoma (swelling from bleeding into the tissue) is an almost certain result. It's a risk regardless but even if it does occur it resolves within a couple of weeks and managable. Even hematomas almost never require narcotics for pain control.

3. There shouldn't be any drive related issues, the testosterone production capacity remains intact. The composition and consistency of your ejactulate will change but whether this matters beyond the not being fertile part is an exercise for the reader.

Also, worth noting is that scalpels need not necessarily appear. There are number of "no-scalpel" variants on the procedure which are ultimately no more or less effective than the traditional approach.
posted by shagoth at 7:41 AM on November 26, 2005

My husband had it done about three years ago. He says there wasn't much pain either during or after, and his performance and drive are unchanged. It's awfully nice not to have to worry about unintended pregnancies -- this has resulted in more spontanaeity and friskiness, not less! Go for it!
posted by acridrabbit at 7:55 AM on November 26, 2005

I've had it done a few months ago.

The cutting, snipping, cauterizing, etc, doesn't hurt. It's the goddamned lidocaine.

I was grunting and breathing hard and the doctor said, "Sorry.. it's a lot like I just kicked you in the nuts, isn't it?" I guess I've never been nailed directly in the nads but this was the most severe pain I've ever felt in that particular area of my anatomy.

And then the pain goes away after the lidocaine kicks in.

His version of the surgery was very quick and efficient. He took a pair of scissors (I think.. I wasn't about to watch), snipped a hole in the cleft between the testicles, massaged the vas deferens to the hole, looped a bit out of the hole (which was maybe 1/4 inch), clamped both ends, cut the tube, cauterized both ends and pulled on the testicles to pull the vas deferens back into the incision. Jabbed me with another shot of lidocaine (which hurt just as bad as the first shot) and did the same thing. As far as I can tell, I only had one hole after he was done.

Post surgery - the pain was really not that bad. Seriously. I took Aleve (never taken them before the surgery, but he recommended them) and while there was a dull ache, it was very bearable. My doc told me to ice my groin for about 30 minutes every hour or two and I did pretty good in following that recommendation. He said at least twice, very emphatically, that I had to follow the icing recommendation or it would hurt like hell.

So, that's about it. The surgery took maybe 10 minutes and I walked out of there. I waited a whole lot longer than it took for him to do the procedure. Also, it's very uncomfortable having a man you just met shave your nads. And he dry shaved it. Very... uncomfortable.

My drive hasn't changed... of course neither has my wife's but whatever...
posted by ajpresto at 8:02 AM on November 26, 2005

1. Minimal. Essentially none. It's uncomfortable and really, really strange, but not painful.

2. Moderate, though manageable if you move gingerly for 4 or 5 days afterward. Bring a cup to wear home. The doctors will all tell you the pain will be gone "in a day or two." They're lying. It takes about a week. Don't plan to work the next day or two.

3. None whatsoever. Very much the opposite, in fact.
posted by majick at 8:06 AM on November 26, 2005

My husband said it was not a painful procedure at all. Minor discomfort, but not painful. It was done during the day on a Friday, so he would have the weekend to recover before going back to work on Monday.

I think he had a bit of an ache over the weekend, but nothing major.

Don't wear jeans to doctor's office/hospital. Wear sweatpants. You don't want to have tight pants on afterward; you'll be tender.

If there is a scar, I can't see it. There is no change that I ever noticed to the resultant ejaculate. The sex drive didn't change at all.

It's really great for birth control for monogamous couples. If there are other issues than pregnancy, I don't see the point, 'cause condoms would have to be involved for other reasons, but for us, his vasectomy was great.
posted by Savannah at 8:19 AM on November 26, 2005

1. Minimal. Kind of weird though.
2. One day here. If you ever played soccer: feels like the aftermath of having caught the ball in the groin while standing in the wall for a close freekick. Extra strength Tylenol pretty much took care of it.
3. None whatsoever. (Unless you count your partner's increased appreciation of your bravery and unselfishness...heh.)
posted by Finder at 8:23 AM on November 26, 2005

Also, it's very uncomfortable having a man you just met shave your nads. And he dry shaved it. Very... uncomfortable.

I had that done -- unnecessarily, I later found out -- when I had an appendectomy last year. (The shaver, who had a thick Boston accent, tried to break the ice with "Betchya didn't think when ya woke up this mahnin' that some gahd'd be shavin' ya bahlls!")

Anyway, I comment to say that ball-shaving, in the grand scheme of things, isn't such a big deal. There isn't any (physical) discomfort, during or after. So don't worry about that part.
posted by danb at 8:35 AM on November 26, 2005

The weirdest thing about another guy shaving my balls was that it wasn't that weird. The guy doing it was so matter of fact about it seemed normal.

I was semi-unconscious when mine was done so the procedure was trauma - free. (This was twenty one years ago)

Be sure to take it easy for the first few days afterwards. I had very little discomfort following the procedure which led me to think I could go straight back to work .... loading 70 lb packages into shipping containers (I was 24, all knowing and indestructible). Nothing serious occurred but I did have to take a few days off.

No change to the sex drive.
posted by Carbolic at 8:50 AM on November 26, 2005

Ditto on ajpresto's experience. The anesthetic was the worst part, but the actual procedure (same type -- a "no scalpel" surgery) involved almost no sensation at all.

Post-surgery, I took vicodin and it was definitely necessary. I didn't feel so much like I'd been kicked in the balls as sort of grazed. Uncomfortable for about three days, but nothing horrible.

I did walk around with an unpleasant awareness of my testicles for about three weeks. Not unpleasant in the "gee, they hurt" sort of way, but unpleasant in the "I am aware that my poor, vulnerable balls are down there at all times" sort of way. I think we normally have a sort of contract with our balls that keeps awareness of them compartmentalized unless a knee or laundry cart is headed at them.

No impact on drive or anything, either. Definitely worth it.
posted by mph at 8:52 AM on November 26, 2005

I found the procedure to be more weird than painful, and spent the rest of the day lying around being uncomfortable. But pretty much back to normal after a day. There was some residual pain during sex for about six months - not bad, just noticeable. I think it was the cauterized ends of the vas(ii?) trying to find a home. Since then it's been gravy.
posted by sneebler at 8:59 AM on November 26, 2005

I know a guy who had it done after his first child, undone when he and his wife decided to have a second child, and redone shortly after the birth of said child. Pain was minimal, he said, but I didn't grill him on it.

Another friend (female) had a breast reduction; her doctor said it wouldn't hurt, I told her it would - a lot. She didn't believe me. I was right, but can't really feel very smug about that.
posted by cactus at 9:11 AM on November 26, 2005

Heavily sedated during, all tenderness gone a couple weeks after, no side effects, and not having to worry about unexpected pregnancies is a Good Thing.
posted by flabdablet at 9:20 AM on November 26, 2005

Mostly mental pain. Like you, I'd spent my life protecting thise parts. Having them hacked made me nuts. Ask for strong drugs. Really. You'll be better off.
In the end though, nothing says I love you like having it done. Worth it.
posted by cccorlew at 9:28 AM on November 26, 2005

My boyfriend had one. He was at work later that day(office job). There was some soreness and bruising(that was probably the most shocking part for me, seeing his nuts all purple, but he said it didn't even hurt). As far as performance and drive, we got to stop using condoms(yes we've been tested), which lead to the sex being way fucking better, as well as completely worry-free. And did someone say the consistency of your ejactulate would change? I know it's technically different, but I've swallowed, gotten facials, and wiped it out of/off various body parts a billion times in both states and I couldn't tell the difference with a gun to my head, so don't worry about that one.
posted by Juliet Banana at 9:54 AM on November 26, 2005

This website has almost convinced my husband to get a referral to a urologist.

It's extremely graphic, but somehow that actually helped my husband, who likes to know how things work and appreciated having the process demystified a bit.

I tell you this for free, the person whose drive is going to be most improved by my husband's vasectomy is ME.
posted by padraigin at 9:57 AM on November 26, 2005 [1 favorite]

I had one about 6 months ago. The surgeon who did mine had done something like 8-9 thousand in his career. It was a scalpel sort of deal. I found that the freezing was the most painful part of the procedure, apart from the weirdness of having to do the pre-op shave they asked me to do! Actually, thinking of a big dude with a Boston accent shaving me, I guess I was glad to do it myself.

I mention the experience of my surgeon, because I think part of the reason I had such a realatively painless experience afterward was due to his dexterity. It stands to reason that if someone works your nuts over, they will be more sore afterward. He was deft and quick, and I planned absolutely nothing for the next two days. I had minimal swelling, and as for pain, I had so little that ibuprofen was all that was really required, except for the first couple hours after the freezing came out.

And...feel free to peruse my thread about it! I just added the tags.
posted by Richat at 11:18 AM on November 26, 2005

1. Pain during the procedure was minor. ajpresto gave a pretty good blow-by-blow account. I don't recall much pain when I was injected with the local anaesthetic. I also shaved my own nads before showing up at the clinic, at the urologist's request. It's definitely a very strange experience, but getting my wisdom teeth out was much more unpleasant, if that gives you a basis for comparison. The whole thing took maybe 15 minutes.

2. Pain after wasn't a big deal. I was wearing a jock strap for 3 (?) days after and taking it easy as much as possible. Just used OTC painkillers.

3. Long-term effects? None, except that chicks dig it. I can't find the scars at all.
posted by adamrice at 11:32 AM on November 26, 2005

The Answer: seek a scalpel-less V. I had one done a few months ago. It was a breeze.

The doctor will use an extremely fine needle to inject the local. That part is pain-free. Then he will use surgical scissors to cut a very small slit about 1cm long. That part is pain-free.

He will then find the nearest vas, fold it, snip it, and use tiny titanium clips on the ends of the snipped vas. That part is pain-free. He repeats with the other vas, through the same hole. Still pain-free.

If you're (un)lucky, you'll get to watch. He'll also show you the snipped-off bit, before tossing it in a sample jar to be sent to the lab for confirmation. (In BC, at least. Something to do with covering his ass should things go wrong: he'll have proof that he really did remove a chunk of piping.)

And that's all. No stitches. The slit is so small that it self-heals.

You will be able to drive yourself home. You will feel tender, but not in deep pain. Ibuprofen will be enough to manage the discomfort. You'll need to take a day off from any labour/action that could potentially re-open the slit. But you won't be doubled-over in pain. At worst, it's about what you feel five minutes after a toddler has accidently kicked you in the groin: mild discomfort, but no real pain.

The next day, you'll be back to normal. You can resume fucking whenever you wish.

Psychologically, it's a bit weird. Physically, everything is the same as always, including quantity of output and quality of performance.

Anyway, scalpel-less vasectomies are the best. Getting a tatoo would hurt 100x more.
posted by five fresh fish at 11:41 AM on November 26, 2005

I had a scalpel-less vasectomy. As "Five Fresh Fish" said- it was painless and fast.

I had a lot of post-op pain. I followed instructions, used extensive ice and OTC painkillers, and I was still limping three days on.

You have to get tested repeatedly after the operation, so it isn't immediate relief from birth control. It took seven months for me to pass muster (fail three successive fertility tests).

No impact on love life. Ironically, one year on, birth control pills have been recommended to ease my wife's PMS. Grrrr!
posted by sgarst at 2:23 PM on November 26, 2005

Wow. I wonder why yours hurt. The doctors' pitch to me was that this was pretty much the ultimate in Vs. Chinese-developed, IIRC.

I suppose given the one-child policy they had going on over there, the Chinese would have a the lead in male reproductive control.
posted by five fresh fish at 4:20 PM on November 26, 2005

I once asked a friend about his recent "V" and he sent me this reply by email. He covers the basics of the procedure in a rather entertaining way:

So you want to know about vasectomies.

Part One: The Procedure
You can't see what they're doing, so some of this I'm assuming based on the
way it felt.

1. Upon entering the hospital, you must talk to at least ten
receptionists/nurses. All of them know why you're there and you can feel
yourself being judged as "Vas-worthy". While this may not be true in your
particular case, I had the feeling that these women were thinking, "Why
bother? You're not getting any, anyway."

2. You are escorted by a nurse to a small room where you are instructed to
disrobe and put on a paper nightgown with no back. It is the requirement of
the nurse to walk in just as you've removed your underwear.

3. Wearing the robe, you are pushed into the "procedure room" in a
wheelchair. "Procedure Room" is a nice way of saying "Operating Room". There
are two nurses there to greet you.

4. You are instructed to lay on the operating table, which is slightly
cooler than ice. The sudden drop in temperature and your increasing
apprehension cause your penis to shrink to the size it was when you were
six. You hope the nurses leave the room before the "procedure" begins.

5. The doctor walks in (a man, in my case), says hello to the nurses, lifts
your robe, grabs your penis and says, "Hi. I'm Doctor Smith. How are you?"
Since this man is holding the most important part of your body, it is wise
to say, "Fine, thank you. How are you?"

6. The doctor grabs a razor and shaves your balls. I would add something
funny here, but there is nothing funny about it. When he's done, he swabs an
orange liquid onto your genitalia. The liquid is slightly cooler than the
table and your penis actually pulls into your body. The nurses watch.

7. The doctor grabs the tiny thing that used to be your manhood and tapes it
to your belly. The nurses watch.

8. The doctor takes a needle that is roughly the size of a softball bat from
his tray. While holding it up, he says, "You might feel a little prick..."
You should reply, "If that orange stuff wasn't so cold, it wouldn't be this

9. A strange numbing sensation invades your groin area. This is good, you
think, because you don't want to feel a thing. You will very soon realize
that the anesthetic is only good for surface pain.

10. For the next few minutes, you feel some tugging at your balls, but no
real discomfort. The doctor then says, "You're going to feel some pressure
now." and squeezes your left testicle with a pair of vise-grips. The
involuntary intake of breath is the signal to the doctor that you are
experiencing pain, so he begins to slowly pull your intestines from your
body through the small incision he's made in your scrotum. This lasts
approximately three hours.

11. The doctor then takes two bare wires and places them on your scrotum. He
nods at the nurse, who plugs in the other end of this wire, sending shock
waves to your brain and filling the room with the smell of burnt flesh.

12. The pressure and electric shock finally stops and the doctor says, "That
wasn't so bad, was it?" Before you can reply that, yes it was indeed that
bad, in fact, it was worse, he repeats steps 10 and 11 on your right

13. When you're all done, the doctor untapes your penis which falls
painfully onto your balls. You understand why this is so good for birth
control, because you will never use your penis for sex again.

The aftermath

1. You are instructed not to do anything strenuous for the next few days.
This is okay because you don't feel like doing anything strenuous ever

2. The doctor explains that you are not immediately sterile. In fact you
will be fertile for the next 25 to 30 ejaculations. You calculate that this
means you will be fertile for the rest of your life.

3. At home, you sit in a chair, watch TV, nap, and drink beer. Your
wife/significant other waits on you hand and foot. Your kids (if you have
them) jump on you, causing you to scream like a little girl.

4. The hair on your balls grows back. Only it's not hair, it's razor
wire...SHARP razor wire. And it itches, but you can't scratch because you're
wearing a jockstrap (provided by the hospital) and the part that itches is
hugely sensitive to pain.

And that's it. I'll let you know how the sex is if I ever have sex again.

posted by qwip at 4:50 PM on November 26, 2005 [8 favorites]

Firstly, congratulations, don't let what I'm about to say put you off. It's a righteous thing to do.

I had a bad time with it. It hurt like hell during the operation. It hurt like hell after it. It was two weeks before I could bring myself to try for an orgasm. It was several months before random aching and dragging feelings subsided to a level where I generally didn't notice them.

I have spoken to many other guys who've had it done and while I seem to be in a slight minority for having had significant pain during the op, I am by no means in a minority for having had a long period of pain and discomfort after the op. I'm telling you this as a warning to balance out all you'll read about what a no-big-deal procedure it is.

I think I suffered during the op because long experience with dentists and hospitals has taught me that I seem to be one of those unfortunates who has some sort of resistance to local anaesthetics. I need a shitload of novocaine at the dentists. Every experience of local anaesthetic I've ever had at a hospital has involved me yelping and needing to be given more. And more. When I yelped (I'm playing this down, here) during my vasectomy the doc gave me extra local three times and it still didn't entirely stop hurting, just became more-or-less bearable. Of course, by that time I was ready to jump out of my skin every time I felt contact. By the time I got to the recovery room I was plastered in cold sweat and feeling like I'd enjoyed a session of stress and duress in Abu Ghraib, not a "straightforward minor operation".

The good news:

The op really is very quick. I would estimate five minutes. Of course, it sure feels longer than that if you get the sort of experience I did...

It does stop hurting. Eventually.

Ultimately, it has no effect on libido or ability to perform sexually. Not once it stops hurting, that is!

Go for it. But you might want to consider having it done under general rather than local. :-)
posted by Decani at 7:57 AM on November 27, 2005


If any of you guys want to get the V from the guy I went to, you're welcome to stay over at my place. My experience wasn't at all traumatizing, and I think it must be the quality of your doctors that makes the difference.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:10 AM on November 27, 2005

Here's a nice general-info page about vasectomy from the NIH.
posted by ikkyu2 at 3:20 PM on November 27, 2005

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