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How effective is a vasectomy?
Vasectomy is very effective. It has been estimated that only about 15 out of 10,000 couples get pregnant during the first year after a vasectomy. Although rare, pregnancy is possible even years after the procedure.
Although some men have been able to have their vasectomies reversed (undone), this process involves expensive, major surgery, and success cannot be guaranteed. Therefore a vasectomy is considered appropriate for those who desire a permanent form of birth control.
What is the recovery process for a vasectomy?
After vasectomy, the patient will probably feel sore for a few days, and he should rest for at least one day. However, he can expect to recover completely in less than a week. Many men have the procedure on a Friday and return to work on Monday. Although complications such as swelling, bruising, inflammation, and infection may occur, they are relatively uncommon and almost never serious. Nevertheless, men who develop these symptoms at any time should inform their physician.
What are the side effects of a vasectomy?
A major study of vasectomy side effects occurring within eight to 10 years after the procedure was published in the British Medical Journal in 1992. This study -- the Health Status of American Men, or HSAM -- was sponsored by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD). Investigators questioned 10,590 vasectomized men, and an equal number of nonvasectomized men, to see if they had developed any of 99 different disorders. After a total of 182,000 person-years of follow-up, only one condition, epididymitis/orchitis (defined as painful, swollen, and tender epididymis or testis) -- was found to be more common after vasectomy. This local inflammation most often occurs during the first year after surgery. When treated with heat, it usually clears up within a week.
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