By Mountain Family Health Centers & Dr. Chris Tonozzi, MD
There are lots of birth control options out there right now, and choosing one can be difficult. Women have more options than men, deciding between pills, shots, surgery, patches, and implants. But men don’t have as many ways to help. It’s important that a man use condoms if there is a risk of sexually transmitted diseases, but condoms aren’t very reliable as birth control. Studies show that condoms are only 85% effective in preventing pregnancy.
An option that guys do have is getting a vasectomy. Vasectomy is a surgery in which a small opening (approximately 1 cm) is made in the skin of the scrotum (the skin around the testicles). The right and left vas deferens (the tube that carries sperm) is brought out through the opening and a section of this tube is cut out. This prevents sperm, which usually travel from the testicles to the penis, from being ejaculated during sex, preventing pregnancy. Vasectomy is almost 100% effective at preventing pregnancy.
Here are some common questions about vasectomy:
Will it affect enjoyment of sex? The surgery doesn’t affect hormones or how a man has sex. For many couples, knowing that they have 100% effective birth control, helps them enjoy sex more. The semen (the liquid ejaculated during sex) will not have sperm in it any longer, but the man will still have semen, and it will look the same.
Will the surgery be painful? We use several techniques to minimize pain. Medicines are prescribed to take before the surgery to help you relax, and to prevent pain. A local anesthetic (numbing medicine) is injected in the scrotum at the beginning of the surgery to prevent any feeling in the area. Dr. Chris Tonozzi, one of our experienced physicians here at Mountain Family Health Centers, uses a vasectomy technique called no-scalpel vasectomy. The opening in the skin is very small, reducing the need for skin to be cut. This minimizes pain, swelling, bleeding and other complications.
How much recovery time will I need? It’s recommended that you have 2 – 3 days off from work, depending on what kind of work or physical activities you normally do. Within a week after surgery, most patients are back to regular full activity, including work and sports. You should wait about a week after surgery before resuming sex.
How much does it cost? Insurance generally covers vasectomy. If you don’t have insurance, Mountain Family has sliding fee scale program that may provide a discount. If you do not qualify for the sliding scale program and your insurance does not cover vasectomy, the charge is $80 – $150 for the consult (doctor’s appointment preceding the procedure) plus $625 for the procedure and follow-up appointment. Without insurance coverage or a discount, the total cost is $705 – $775.
Want to pay up front and lower the price? At Mountain Family we always honor a 20% paid-in-full discount when you pay at the time of service. If you pay for the consult and vasectomy at the time of service, you qualify for a 20% discount on each. That means $500 for the vasectomy and follow-up appointment plus $64 – $120 for the consult, with a total cost of $564 – $620.
When can I sign up? Now! We’re hoping to get men interested in signing up for the simple procedure during the NCAA’s annual college basketball championships (March 13th – April 2nd)… also known as “March Madness.” If you think a vasectomy is right for you, and you’re also a basketball fan, consider a vasectomy during this time. You’ll have a great excuse for lounging on the couch for 2 – 3 days watching basketball!
Call us at (970) 945-2840 to schedule your consult. During that appointment we will choose a date to do the surgery.