Vasectomy is a minimally invasive procedure that can be done safely in the office. The complications of vasectomy in Minnesota are very rare. The bleeding and hematoma formation is the most common immediate complication after vasectomy. The most significant long term side effect in the Minneapolis and St Paul areas is chronic pain after a vasectomy. About 1 in 1,000 men experience pain afterward, and we haven’t had any reports on the chronic pain from our vasectomy patients yet. After a vasectomy, men continue to produce sperm at about the same rate as before, and those sperm have to go somewhere. They typically build up in the epididymis, which is a 16-foot-long tightly coiled tube behind each testicle. Some men become sensitive to the buildup of pressure in the duct and begin to experience pain.
What can be done to relieve the pain? In many cases, taking an anti-inflammatory medication such as ibuprofen, wearing a supporter and sitting in a warm tub to increase blood flow is enough to treat the problem. Eventually the pain goes away.
If it doesn’t, there are several options. We can redo the vasectomy, leaving the testicle end open, allowing the sperm to leak out, which relieves pressure in the epididymis. The downside is that this increases the chance that sperm will find a new channel into the ejaculate, so we have to monitor men by doing periodic sperm counts. Another option is to remove the epididymis, which is a much more complicated procedure than the original vasectomy. Or some patients may consider reverse the vasectomy, which always relieves the pain. The drawback, of course, is that the man is fertile again.