A vasectomy is a surgical sterilization procedure performed in males to prevent pregnancy. Sperm forms in the testicles and moves through a tube called the vas deferens to get to the urethra and out of the body during ejaculation. During a vasectomy, the surgeon cuts the vas deferens and seals the ends, thereby preventing the sperm from leaving the body. A surgeon performs the procedure in an outpatient setting such as the office, according to Medline Plus.
Complications may occur immediately following the surgery. The most common side effects include swelling of the surgical site and bruising on the scrotum. Infections may occur in the incisions. Symptoms of an infection include redness on the skin, swelling, a fever, drainage from the incisions and increased pain in the area. Some men may experience bleeding in the scrotum or a blood clot. Semen may have blood mixed in when ejaculating.
A complication following a vasectomy includes a possibility of causing pregnancy. After the procedure, 15 to 20 ejaculations may still contain sperm. This allows a possibility of pregnancy unless the couple use other forms of birth control. Having the sperm counted twice following the procedure helps ensure the residual sperm are no longer present and pregnancy is a low risk.
Some males may experience a condition called reanastomosis following a vasectomy. Renastomosis is the spontaneous reattachment of the vas deferens and occurs to fewer than 1 percent of men undergoing a vasectomy, according to the Merck Manual of Health Information. Once the vas deferens rejoins, pregnancy may occur.
The testicles may experience tenderness and pain after a vasectomy. Fluid can build up in the testicles and cause an aching pain. The body continues to manufacture sperm even after the vasectomy, and the sperm leaks into the scrotum during ejaculation. The immune system may react to the sperm and cause a painful inflammation in the testicles, according to the Mayo Clinic.
A vasectomy is considered a permanent form of birth control. Although it may be possible to reverse a vasectomy and reconnect the vas deferens, the success rate is low. People who change their mind about not wanting children may not be able to reverse this form of birth control and conceive a child naturally.
About this Author
Abigail Adams began her freelance writing career in 2009, teaching others about medical conditions and promoting wellness by writing on online health and fitness publications. She is educated and licensed as a registered nurse receiving her degree from North Georgia College and State University.