Pre-vasectomy consultation: What to expect? What to ask?

Before your vasectomy, a pre-vasectomy consultation will take place. During this time, your doctor will go over the purpose of the procedure along with the risks and side effects of a vasectomy. In addition, there will also be a brief review of the post-procedure precautions and testing needed to ensure that your surgery was successful. Most of the time, this consultation is the only time you have to ask questions about your vasectomy. In this article, we hope to help you get the most out of the short time you have during your consultation.

What can you do to make your consultation count?

Before you go in for your consultation, you should take time to research and consider all aspects of vasectomy in order to make sure it’s right for you, and it’s a decision you are happy with.

Doing your research beforehand will help you ask the right questions, and most importantly, understand the answers. You have a limited amount of time with your doctor, so you will want to use it wisely.

What kind of pre-vasectomy research should I do?

To make the best use of the time you have at the consultation, it’s a good idea to understand the basics behind a vasectomy – how the operation works, what anatomy is involved, and other minor details about the operation.

Suggested reading

While doing research on the procedure, you might soon find yourself with a ton of questions that you would like answers to. If you aren’t familiar with common medical terms, you may want to look these up ahead of time so that you are able to understand the answers you are given.

Another source you may want to turn to is a colleague, family member, or friend of yours who has had a vasectomy. This type of intel may be more personal and may feel more comforting to you than medical jargon and information that you can find on the internet. While information from medical professionals is ideal when looking for answers, there are blog posts, articles, and books about vasectomies with personal stories and various viewpoints that may help you.

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Ask about the doctor’s experience

During your consultation, you may want to ask your doctor about their experience. Not all physicians perform vasectomies. Vasectomies are most commonly performed by a urologist but can also be performed by a general surgeon as well as a family practice doctor. Because it is regarded as a simple procedure, doctors are able to perform vasectomies with minimal training. However, you will most likely feel more comfortable with a physician who has years of experience performing vasectomies.

It may seem awkward to ask your doctor about their experience, but it is your right to do so. Questions you may want to ask include: how long they have been performing vasectomies, how many they have done, any complications they may have experienced in the past, and how they treated them. If their answers do not satisfy your needs or make you feel uncomfortable, then you may want to reconsider if this doctor is a good fit for you. Even if you are under an HMO (Health Maintenance Organization) plan, you are often allotted a list of practitioners that you are allowed to choose from. This operation should be important to you, so make sure you feel comfortable with the doctor you are choosing.

Another question you may want to pose to your doctor is if they will be the one who is performing your entire procedure. Sometimes, a physician-in-training may be there to do part of the procedure, and that may not be what you are expecting. Your doctor should always discuss this with you beforehand and your permission should be gained. However, it doesn’t hurt to ask, just to make sure you are in the know. And if that is the case and you do not feel comfortable with the situation, you can make it known and say no, or switch practitioners.

Discuss your medical history

The consultation is a great time to discuss any concerns you may have about the operation. This may include if you have felt any pain relating to your penis, testicles, or scrotum. Advise your physician if you have had any surgery in that region such as an inguinal hernia repair or any procedures associated with your testicles especially if you have a history of an undescended testicle. You never want your doctor to begin your surgery without knowing your extensive medical background because if they don’t know something pertinent, it can be a major issue later.

Post vasectomy pain syndrome (PVPS) is often caused by undiagnosed problems that happened before the vasectomy was done. It was found in a 5-year study that men who had scrotal pain pre-operatively were more common to have pain post-operatively.1Leslie TA, Illing RO, McCormick R, Guillebaud J, Cranston DW. The incidence of chronic post-vasectomy scrotal pain – a prospective cohort study with a mean follow-up of five years. European Urology Supplements. 2014;13(1). https://oxfordvasectomyclinic.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/Chronic-pain-levels.pdf It is suggested that men who have already dealt with pain should be warned about the higher possibility of pain, up to even 5 years after the surgery.

This means that it is incredibly important that you discuss your past medical conditions and pain with your doctor so you can make sure that a vasectomy would not worsen the pain. You may even want to look into your family history of prostate or testicular cancer so that you can discuss that with your doctor. Based on this information, your doctor should have a good idea about whether this procedure would be safe for you, especially later down the line. You may want to discuss the different types of vasectomies and whether or not you may be at risk of complications from any of them.

There’s no legal requirement for spousal consent, so it may come as a surprise that some doctors may require a co-signature from your wife or partner before performing the surgery. Most of the time, this is because the doctor wants to protect themselves legally. It can also be based on the statistical research having to do with reversals and post-vasectomy regret. Reversal and regret rates have been found to be highest for men who got vasectomies before the age of 302Wespes E. Vasectomy in male contraception and its reversal. European Urology Supplements. 2014;13(4):68-72. doi:10.1016/j.eursup.2014.07.003 and reversals usually happen after 5 years later, when the man has found a new romantic partner.3Ostrowski KA, Polackwich AS, Kent J, Conlin MJ, Hedges JC, Fuchs EF. Higher outcomes of vasectomy reversal in men with the same female partner as before vasectomy. Journal of Urology. 2015;193(1):245-247. doi:10.1016/j.juro.2014.07.106 Some doctors like to include partners in the consultation, so everyone involved is aware of the risks and benefits, and that the decision should be viewed as permanent.

Pre-operative physical examination

Be prepared for the pre-operative physical examination, often referred to as the “tube check.” While all men should have similar anatomy, some differences can cause issues during the surgery. Your doctor will need to examine your scrotum to make sure your vas deferens won’t pose any issues during the vasectomy. This examination is all about making sure you are suitable for the procedure and able to be under local anesthetic.

Physical activity

If you work a labor-intensive job or play a sport, you will also want to discuss this with your doctor during your consultation. This discussion can lead your doctor to advise you on different recovery options. You may need an extended rest after your vasectomy. Telling your doctor about the activities you commonly do will help them suggest different types of the procedure and alert them to any possible complications.

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After the consult

After you have had your consultation, you will want to take time to evaluate all of the answers you were given. Be honest with yourself about any hesitations you are feeling. Having a vasectomy is a big decision and it is yours to make, so you should be sure that you are fully comfortable before going ahead with the surgery. You should view your operation as permanent sterilization, not as a form of standard birth control. We hope this has helped you get ready for your consultation, so you can ask all of the questions you need to feel secure and ready.

References and further reading Vasectomy-Information.com has a strict sourcing policy. We rely on evidence-based medicine, peer-reviewed studies, reputable clinical journals, and medical associations. Learn more about how we ensure our content is accurate and up-to-date by reading our editorial policy.
  1. Leslie TA, Illing RO, McCormick R, Guillebaud J, Cranston DW. The incidence of chronic post-vasectomy scrotal pain – a prospective cohort study with a mean follow-up of five years. European Urology Supplements. 2014;13(1). https://oxfordvasectomyclinic.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/Chronic-pain-levels.pdf
  2. Wespes E. Vasectomy in male contraception and its reversal. European Urology Supplements. 2014;13(4):68-72. doi:10.1016/j.eursup.2014.07.003
  3. Ostrowski KA, Polackwich AS, Kent J, Conlin MJ, Hedges JC, Fuchs EF. Higher outcomes of vasectomy reversal in men with the same female partner as before vasectomy. Journal of Urology. 2015;193(1):245-247. doi:10.1016/j.juro.2014.07.106
  4. Vasectomy – Male urology conditions. Dr. Howard Tay, MD, FACS https://www.drtayurologist.com/vasectomy/

Published

September 11, 2021

Authored by

Dr. Howard Tay, MD, FACS

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  1. Do doctors pretest for fertility before the operation? I am wondering if I have Kleinfelt syndrome and would, therefore, have been sterile before my vasectomy.

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