The Initial Consultation : A guide to Vasectomy

This is the all-important meeting between you and the surgeon. This is where you find out more about vasectomy surgery, whether you are suitable for surgery and if this is the right surgeon for you.

If you are having treatment on the NHS then you will have moved up the waiting list and are ready to be seen by an NHS consultant.

If you have chosen to go privately then you will have done your homework in the form of visiting several private clinics to assess their facilities and level of care. You want to be sure that you are getting the right person for you so will need to spend some time talking to various surgeons before making your decision.

This is discussed further down this page – questions to ask the vasectomy surgeon.

Vasectomy overview

The surgeon will explain one or both procedures to you, outlining the risks as well as the benefits as well as asking you about your medical history. He/she will want to be sure that you are in good shape for this procedure and are fully aware of what it entails.

This also means being aware that it is usually a permanent procedure: once you have undergone this it is with you for the rest of your life although there is the option of a vasectomy reversal. But this is not as straightforward as a vasectomy and much less successful.

You should be allowed to bring your spouse/partner along to the consultation where she will be able to ask questions as well. It is better for the surgeon if both of you are in agreement about a vasectomy although your partner’s permission is not required.

But he/she would prefer if it both of you are happy with your decision as it is usually a life changing one.

Medical history

The surgeon will also ask if you are taking any prescribed or over the counter medications and if you have undergone any previous surgery on your testicles.

This is why your medical history is a vital part of the consultation. The surgeon needs to know if you have any health problems or there are any other factors which might lead to complications during surgery. Please be completely honest about your state of health and medical history.

Prefer to see a male surgeon?

If you prefer to see a male surgeon then be aware that you may have to wait longer to do so. Speak to your GP about this as he/she will be able to advise you on finding a male surgeon.

Another option is to go for private treatment which will offer you a greater choice of surgeons, which includes male surgeons.

Whichever surgeon you see will be act in a professional manner throughout your treatment.

Important considerations for young men

If you are a young man then the surgeon may advise you to speak to a counsellor or someone trained in this aspect. The reason for this is that as you are still young, you still have time to start a family and may regret having a vasectomy when you are older. Circumstances change, for example, you find a new partner who wants to start a family. You cannot predict what will happen many years into the future so the surgeon needs to know that you are certain about having a vasectomy and are fully aware that it is a permanent decision.

This does not mean that you will be refused a vasectomy on the grounds of being too young: rather it is a case of being realistic about this procedure and how that will impact upon your life in the future.

The surgeon will discuss all of these with you but as this is a two way process there will be questions you will want to ask him/her.

So what questions should you ask?

Questions to ask the vasectomy surgeon

If you are looking to be treated on the NHS then you will find that all their surgeons are professionally accredited and qualified. But if you are ‘going private’then you will need to do this research yourself and check their qualifications. It is important to find the right surgeon for you and one that is qualified and experienced.

But whoever you see, you will have questions to ask him or her so it is a good idea to go prepared. This means making a list of questions to ask before the consultation so that you do not forget anything important.

Here is a list of suggested questions to ask – NHS or private:

  • How much training and experience do you have in this type of surgery?
  • How many years have you been doing vasectomy surgery?
  • Do you perform any other types of surgery?
  • How many vasectomies have you performed?
  • What are your success rates?
  • What is your failure rate?
  • What type of procedure do you perform? (conventional or no-scalpel)
  • Which procedure do you recommend for me?
  • Do you recommend a local or general anaesthetic?
  • Is the surgery carried out in your clinic or a hospital?
  • What precautions do you take to reduce risks during surgery?
  • Have you or are you currently under investigation for malpractice/misconduct?
  • Who else will be with you during the surgery?
  • If something does go wrong will you offer me a second procedure (and free of charge)?
  • What will the recovery be like?
  • If something goes wrong who do I contact?
  • Will the surgery affect my sex life?
  • What does my quote include (and exclude)?
  • How much does a vasectomy cost?
  • What is ‘post-vasectomy pain syndrome?’
  • If I am not suitable then can you recommend an alternative?

The issue of failure and/or complications is one that concerns most patients so ask your surgeon about how they would deal with this.

If you are choosing to go privately then make sure that you are not put under any undue pressure into making a decision. If you suspect that the clinic is more interested in profit than your wellbeing or uses the ‘hard sell’then look elsewhere.

The surgeon must be concerned with your health and wellbeing which means that he/she should explain both the pro’s and con’s of this surgery. If he/she doesn’t then be wary of his/her motives and talk to another surgeon.

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