Ray’s experience: Vasectomy with a varicocele

I did a bit of research on vasectomy. It seemed fairly straightforward and simple surgery. I have a grade III (large) varicocele on the left side of the scrotum and anticipated more of a problem because of it. The doctor said it was OK to go ahead with vasectomy and that the varicocele would not present a problem for the procedure so off we went. I scheduled the procedure for a Thursday. I took that Friday off to have the weekend to rest and recuperate.

The day of the vasectomy

I had a no-scalpel, closed-ended (suture & cauterize) vasectomy on Thursday afternoon, with a single incision just right of the midline. The procedure took about 35 minutes. No pain other than the prick of the needle. Not bad at all. I felt pulling sensations and manipulation during the procedure but no pain. The right side went fine but the urologist had some trouble getting the vas deferens on the left side and had to grab at it five or six times. This contributed to a longer recovery time.

The urologist also noticed some scar tissue on the left side and asked if I’d had some varicocele repair surgery in the past. I said no. He suspected I may have had an infection at some point in the past. I remember that side aching a few years ago for a few days. Maybe that was it? I never did anything about it since it went away.


Friday to Sunday

I am in less pain than I thought I would be. Some swelling but not much, and some black and blue bruising but not much. I expected all of this. Overall I feel like my recovery is going better than expected. No pain, just tenderness in the area. I iced it all 3 days but not while sleeping. Late Saturday I started having some lower abdominal pain, mainly on the lower left. It hurt most getting up and I walked around kind of hunched over on Sunday but it wasn’t too bad. The pain level of 3 at most (when standing up). I didn’t bother taking any Tylenol because it didn’t hurt at all when I laid down.


Went back to work. Big mistake. I was there for 3 hours and during that time I could feel my balls starting to ache more and more and the area getting more swollen. The lower abdomen started hurting quite a bit on the left side when sitting. I think it was because I was sitting upright. I have a desk job and was sitting all morning but I guess it was too much for me at that point. I decided to go home at lunch and walked out of there a little hunched over because of the abdominal pain and also felt a little nauseous. Got home, resumed ice, and laid on the couch. I’d say the scrotum had swelled to about double what it was the first three days and I had more aching and abdominal pain too. This was the worst day so far. I felt like I’d gone back to being far worse off than I was at any other time in my recovery. It was frustrating and a bit scary.

Tuesday – Wednesday

Stayed home from work. Laid on the couch and iced all day. Ice feels good. Still have abdominal pain but growing less over the two days. The swelling reached its peak on Tuesday and stayed the same Wednesday. Very red on the left side and more swollen. This is the varicocele side. I don’t ice while sleeping but sleep comfortably, no pain if I put a pillow between my legs. I thought about calling the doctor, probably should have, but I felt the swelling was just due to the extra manipulation the doctor did on the left side, plus the varicocele, and felt it was just needing more time to heal.


Feeling better and still at home. Swelling is down about 20% and abdominal pain is gone. I’m in no pain at all either laying down or walking around. Feeling much better. Called the doctor’s office today to ask for an appt to check on the swelling and redness on the left side. It’s been a week and the swelling and redness tell me there could be something up in the area around the varicocele. Bleeding? Infection? There’s swelling on the right too but it’s not red.


Swelling and redness went down a lot overnight. 50% reduction in swelling. Redness is almost gone, now a shade of pink. The doctor’s office gave me a prescription for antibiotics which I started tonight. No abdominal pain since Thursday night and the big reduction in swelling today is putting me in a much better mood! I’m feeling cautiously optimistic at this point.

Saturday (Day 9)

Swelling is down 80%. Feeling good. No pain at all. I’d say I’m 60% returned to normal. I say that because although I’m in no pain and things look good, I haven’t done any activities all this time and still haven’t tested my equipment. I want to be conservative and wait to let things heal up a while longer. I’ll post an update in a few weeks.


If you have a varicocele, I’d recommend you ask the urologist to make the incision on that side of the scrotum. I think this would reduce the amount the vas deferens is pulled and how much the urologist has to dig around for it. I had a lot of scar tissue tangled in the vas deferens on the varicocele side and I think the manipulation and pulling really increased the recovery time and did a bit more damage to things. Secondly, if you have a varicocele, consider the possibility that you may have a longer recovery time than most and plan accordingly with time off from work. I took the whole week off work and am glad I did because now I’m MUCH better. Healing was rapid, with significant improvements almost daily.

I have no regrets and am glad I did this. Although my recovery time was longer than most, I expected the possibility of complications from the varicocele and overall I had a good experience

Update August 15th, 2008

It’s been several months now since my vasectomy (19 January 2008) and I’m pleased to report a full recovery with no complications or adverse side effects. Everything is normal and feels the same as it did prior to the vasectomy. I healed up completely within a few weeks of the vasectomy and I’ve been fine ever since. I’ve had a great experience and recommend vasectomy as a viable option for permanent birth control.

Submitted by Ray

Leave a Comment