Research shows that there are no known serious long-term health risks caused by having a vasectomy. Any surgical procedure carries some risk, but vasectomy is considered to be low-risk, and complications depend to a great extent on the experience and skill of the surgeon.
- Surgical wound infections (0.3%) occur from time to time and the small wound may be slow to heal. This may need to be re-checked by your doctor in case it requires antibiotics.
- Bleeding. In rare cases a small blood vessel in the scrotum can bleed causing a blood clot (haematoma). This occurs in about (0.5%) of cases and gives rise to pain and swelling and could take a few weeks to resolve. When this does occur, it is most likely to develop in the first 2-3 days after vasectomy and may be as a result of too much strenuous activity. It is advisable to follow the advice you receive at the clinic regarding rest after the procedure rest to reduce the risk of haematoma.
- Epididymitis or Epididymo/Orchitis occurs in about 0.5% and is a condition in which part of or the entire testicle may become inflamed. This can occur following a vasectomy, particularly if the man has had an untreated STI in the past such as Chlamydia. It can also occur in men who have not had a vasectomy. It usually responds very well to prompt treatment.
- Sperm Granulomas are not that uncommon. These are small lumps, which form at the end of the vas, particularly on the side still carrying sperm. These are harmless and may cause some initial tenderness and usually settle fairly quickly. They are more common when an ‘open-ended’ procedure has been performed.
- Another rare cause for prolonged post-operative discomfort includes a swelling of the lower end of the cut and sealed vas. This is when the end of the tube expands and may become tender. This very rarely requires treatment and is usually a temporary phenomenon.
- Very occasionally men suffer from persistent pain in the testicle or at the vasectomy site which does not have an obvious cause and occurs in 1% of vasectomised men. It is more common in men who have suffered testicular pain or infections prior to their vasectomy. Treatment of this condition can be difficult: In some of the cases it subsides with time, but on rare occasions it might require removal of a further section of the vas if the pain is high in the scrotum, removal of the epididymis or even reversal of the procedure if the pain involves the testicle.
- There is no firm evidence linking vasectomy to cancer of the prostate or testicles.