The endocrine glands are responsible for secreting hormones in our bodies. These glands include the thyroid in the front of the neck, four parathyroids behind the thyroid, two adrenal glands near each kidney, neuroendocrine glands in the pancreas, and the pituitary gland in the brain.
Endocrine surgeons have special expertise in operating on the endocrine glands when they produce abnormal and harmful amounts of hormones. Surgical removal of all or part of an endocrine gland is often an effective treatment for cancer and benign tumors, cysts, nodules, parathyroid adenoma, Grave’s disease, Cushing’s Syndrome, Conn’s Disease and pheochromocytoma.
Vasectomy is the most effective form of permanent contraception for men. A vasectomy is a minor surgical procedure that stops the flow of sperm between the testicle and the urethra by blocking the vasa deferentia, the tube-like structure that carries sperm to the testicle and through the urethra to the ejaculatory duct.
The Vasectomy Procedure
A vasectomy is a minor procedure that consists of the cutting and sealing of the vas deferens tubes, which are responsible for transporting sperm to the prostate for ejaculation. The testes will continue to produce sperm, but it will be absorbed back into the body soon after production and will not be present in semen. However, it can take up to three months post-surgery before the patient is completely sterile. This is due to sperm lingering within the various tubes of the penile anatomy and may require upwards of twenty ejaculations to ensure complete sterility.
The vasectomy operation is an out-patient procedure and can be performed right in the surgeon’s office. The duration of the surgery is normally between 20 and 30 minutes and requires only local anesthesia.
Side Effects of a Vasectomy
A vasectomy has very few side effects. Some patients may experience the following side effects following a vasectomy:
- Sore and swollen scrotum
- Lower abdominal discomfort
Most patients experience minimal discomfort that can be treated with over-the-counter pain medication.
Complications of a Vasectomy
There is always a risk for infection and bleeding when an incision is made, but the small size of the cut needed for a vasectomy ensures minimal risk. It is possible for sperm to leak into the tissue of the scrotum after surgery. These are usually attacked by the patient’s own immune system and may cause a small lump called a sperm granuloma. This usually clears up on its own, but in rare cases may need to be surgically removed. The libido of most men is unaffected by surgery.
Recovery from a Vasectomy
If employed at a desk job, the patient can usually return to work within one or two days after the vasectomy procedure. Manual labor jobs require a a longer period of time before the patient returns to his job.
Sexual activity can be resumed within about a week, but it is important to note that the vasectomy is not effective immediately, and if necessary, other means of birth control should be used temporarily. A follow-up sperm count test is recommended after two months to ensure sterility, as well as a second testing one month afterwards for complete confirmation. Patients should not assume that their vasectomy is effective until the semen analysis indicates the absence of sperm.
A vasectomy is a minor surgical procedure that stops the flow of sperm between the testicle and the urethra by blocking the vasa deferentia, the tube-like structure that carries sperm to the testicle and through the urethra to the ejaculatory duct. A vasectomy is performed as a permanent means of birth control. However, in some cases, due to personal reasons or changes in circumstances in a man’s life, he may wish to have the vasectomy reversed. In rare cases, a vasectomy reversal may be performed to treat testicular pain that has developed as a result of the initial vasectomy procedure.
The Vasectomy Reversal Procedure
The vasectomy reversal is performed as an out-patient procedure, and the patient is treated with with a general or local anesthetic. There are two different options for performing the procedure.
The vasovasostomy is the most common approach for performing a vasectomy reversal. During this procedure the ends of the vasa deferentia are surgically reconnected to create a passageway for sperm.
A vasoepididymostomy is a more complicated procedure, and this approach may be used if a vasovasostomy will not be successful. During this procedure, the surgeon attaches the vas deferens directly to the epididymis, the organ behind each testicle that holds sperm.
In some cases, depending on the condition of the vas deferens and if there is any scar tissue, a combination of the two techniques may be used.
Recovery from a Vasectomy Reversal
After the procedure, the incisions are covered with bandages, and the groin area may be swollen and may feel sore. Ice is applied to treat swelling and over-the-counter medication is used for pain. Patients are advised to wear tight- fitting under garments or a jock-strap for support for several weeks after the procedure. Sexual intercourse should be avoided for 2 to 4 weeks after a vasectomy reversal. Most patients can return to regular physical activity within a week.
A urologist may perform a semen analysis every 2 to 3 months after surgery to monitor sperm count. Sperm normally appear in the semen within a few months after a vasovasostomy, although after a vasoepididymostomy, it may take up to a year for sperm to appear.
Risks of a Vasectomy Reversal
A vasectomy reversal is considered a safe and low-risk procedure, however possible complications may include:
- Bleeding within the scrotum
- Chronic pain following the procedure
Most previous vasectomies can be successfully reversed if the reversal procedure is performed within a few years after the original vasectomy.
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