Tweeting a vasectomy

Dec 14 2011 Published by under [Life Trajectories], [Medicine&Pharma]

As should be clear by now, I was a bit busy yesterday afternoon having my vas deferens cut and cauterized. In an attempt to use my experience as a way to educate folks about the experience, I live tweeted the whole process, but since twitter is a fleeting medium, I thought I should summarize here as well.

Twitter reads from the bottom up in the images below, except in the "conversations" that read top down. Hey, I'm just the messenger.

My first appointment was about two weeks ago. The doctor briefly described the procedure and how he does it. I had specifically opted for the "no scalpel vasectomy" because the incision is small and recovery is supposed to be less. He told me that he had been doing the procedure for 16 years, which seemed like a decent amount of time to me. Then he told me to shave before my next appointment. After reading Abel's description of a dry shave, I was already ahead of the curve on this one. Having experienced the aftermath of the disposable razor quick shave after my tattoos, I knew that was not going to be a good thing.

But this is not an area I commonly shave and I was a bit worried about irritation. I didn't need razor burn to compound my post-op issues, so I thought about alternatives. CoR suggested waxing, but hell no. I decided to try Nair.

Having solved that problem, I was ready.

One thing I hate is being late. Seriously, I can't do it. The flip side to that, however, is that I often arrive too early for things. This happened yesterday when I got to the office 30 minutes before my appointment. Maybe not the best move when you're a little anxious about something.

I got called in about 5 minutes late and brought to the room, where I was unceremoniously given a paper sheet and told to undress. I assumed that the sheet was for covering me, but checked with the nurse to make sure. I didn't want her to come back in and be horrified that I was on a table covered by a glorified napkin when her intention was something entirely different. My assumption was correct.

With the doctor's blessing (although he said it was a first), I kept my phone with me for the procedure. The sheet was pulled aside and the nurse went to work on my member with a liberal dose of betadine. They slapped a grounding pad on my side for the cauterizing and off we went.

And then shit got real. Much like any procedure that is routine for the doctor, but not for the patient, it seemed like they got to work in a hurry. With the no scalpel procedure, they use an anesthetic "gun" instead of a needle for the local, which resembles an oversized stainless steel pen. The nurse fired it once so I knew what it would sound like and the noise was like a small cap gun. Braced for that, I was ready. The doctor said it would feel like being snapped with a rubber band, and that was basically the feeling.

After about 6 snaps on either side the doctor went to work, starting on the left. It was a very odd feeling, with some pulling that extended a bit up into my lower abdomen, but it wasn't painful. He finished up the left in a couple of minutes and then broke out the cauterizer.

Not even 4 minutes in and half done. No pain to this point either. In fact, there was very little pain throughout, even post-op. "Discomfort" is about the worst of it. Except...

At some point during the pulling and cutting on the right side they hit a patch that was not so numb. I think when my whole body jerked the doctor figured that out. However, I will say that it was more surprise and the reaction to "that sharp poke" I was nervously anticipating than actual pain. All additional local (and there was certainly some needed) was done by needle, but I never felt that at all. Then, back to work.

And as quickly as it started, it was over.

Laying on the tray were two 1cm section of vas, which the nurse placed in a jar for whatever reason. That might have been the strangest moment. I was given a bag with instructions and two "sample cups" and told to get dressed again. I did so gingerly, but only because I was concerned about pain, not because I was in any.

I was given a script for Oxy and an antibiotic, but haven't taken either. I settled on the couch with some ice and had a couple of beers, but that was it. I was getting around fine last night and even did the early morning feeding of the baby at 5:00am. After a shower and a bit more ice this morning I didn't see any reason not to go to work. Drop the Wee One off at daycare this morning and have been at my desk without incident.

The whole thing took about ten minutes. Yeah, it's a little nerve wracking and there is some discomfort, but there was almost no pain and I don't see any sign of complications at this point, nearly 24h post-op. I have no regrets and I would recommend the procedure to any guy thinking about it. I do not consider myself a tough guy by any stretch and the vasectomy was very straight-forward and easy.

I'm glad it's done, but I am more happy that we no longer (in a month or two) have to worry about an accidental pregnancy. I'm happy to have my wife get off The Pill, which she has taken for about half her life. I'm excited that I could do this for us and I encourage anyone who knows they are not going to have another child to sack up and get this done.

21 responses so far

  • Dr Becca says:

    Yay PLS! You are a role model for responsible, tech-savvy dudes everywhere.

  • tideliar says:

    Well fuck yeah. Bravo mate. You've got balls...cajones...huevos guts for tweeting this. For I know this might be me in a few years and I really appreciate thew inside view. Previous understand had left me resigned to the little rubber hats for the next few decades.

  • anon says:

    "I was given a script for Oxy and an antibiotic, but haven't taken either."

    Don't skip the antibiotic! It is a precaution, and maybe you don't need it, but better to err on the safe side than to think later (from a hospital bed), shoulda taken those. Take care of what's left of the boys.

  • gerty-z says:

    Congrats! Glad you are healing up nice. Great job stepping up to take responsibility for the contraception. I'm sure Mrs. PLS is happy to not have to think about it anymore.

  • Pascale says:

    A long, long time ago, my dad had the original vasectomy, back when they did it under general. A couple of days later he dressed up as the Easter Bunny for a preschool event and ripped out his stitches. Apparently it wasn't pretty, although I had no idea what was going on.

    Your procedure sounds quite civilized.

  • proflikesubstance says:

    and ripped out his stitches

    Too soon. Way too soon. I think I just threw up a little in my mouth.

  • Dr. O says:

    Good for you, PLS!

    @anon - The docs don't always want you to automatically take the antibiotics. I've been given scripts before and asked to watch out for signs of infection - swelling, pain, redness - before starting on them.

  • proflikesubstance says:

    Yeah, I'm not going to jump right on the antibiotics, they were precautionary. If I have an issue I'll be the first to grab that bottle, but there's enough antibiotic overuse as it is.

  • PalMD says:

    Hmm...this doesn't sound to bad...

  • proflikesubstance says:

    Hmm...this doesn't sound to bad...

    It's really not. Compared to the upside? Totally worth it. Plus, it's TEN MINUTES of mild discomfort. Even if it were horrible it is still only ten minutes. I've watched Tom Cruise movies that were worse than this.

  • MarkCC says:

    You've got major chutzpah, dude.

    I've considered doing the snip, but privately... but after my experience with stomach surgery (I'm in the lucky 5% that got serious post-op trouble), I just *can't* get myself to go through any elective surgery.

  • You're Pfizered says:


    A good buddy of mine was somewhat embarrassed by the very young and attractive nurse that shaved and prepped him prior to the procedure. I worried about that until Jose, my nurse came in to talk to me. Needless to say, I'm glad I did the shaving part myself....

    I chatted with the doc the entire time during mine. After he was spending a little more time on #1 than I thought, and he grew quiet, I asked him if something was going on. Apparently I had very narrow and short vas deferens (which obviously didn't hurt my chances at having 2 kids in 2 years....). He was struggling to keep it from returning to its home.

    That side was a bit more sore after the procedure because he spend a lot of time trying to find that bad boy. Pain pills were necessary, that's for sure.

    We're assuming you won't be on Twitter for the specimen cup filling....

  • KDCosta says:

    I followed your tweets with a lot of interest yesterday. Having a general understanding of the procedure is different from having someone who experienced it actually tell you about it. I can't believe how quickly it was over! Thanks for sharing, and glad it was relatively pain-free and that you're recovering.

  • CoR says:

    I think it was NatC that suggested the wax. I couldn't resist adding to the hilarity, esp that which would have ensued from a pre-procedure trip to the bikini wax beautician...

  • Bashir says:

    Impressive. Congrats.

  • Ink says:

    Nicely done, PLS! You sounded really brave throughout.

    And that final paragraph is a thing of beauty...especially like the "sack up" part. LOL!

  • itgotweird says:

    Wow, much better than my experience. I got the big V 2 years ago, and I still feel daily pain and discomfort down there. Manageable, but I still think it was the worst decision of my life, and that's saying something! I really hope it works out better for you!

  • hyphaltip says:

    Excellent use of oversharing technologies here - barring it all. glad the tweeting didn't distract the surgeon either.

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