If you've been thinking about having a vasectomy, you may be pleased to hear that we have our own vasectomy clinic in Pencoed (at the New Surgery up on Minffrwd Rd). Dr Preest is one of three surgeons who carry out vasectomies for the whole ABMU region at this clinic. The advantages of having your vasectomy done locally are that it's easy to get there, the waiting list is usually relatively short and it frees up the hospital specialists (who are trained to perform much more urgent and complex procedures such as cancer surgery) as well as freeing up hospital theatres.
If you'd like to have a vasectomy done, you can visit any of our GPs (it doesn't have to be Dr Preest) to discuss beforehand and they will refer you to this clinic. You will get two appointments at the vasectomy clinic (both of which you must confirm beforehand). The first is a counselling session with one of the surgeons (either Dr Preest or one of his 2 colleagues). If, following the counselling session, you are happy to proceed, you will be sent another appointment at a later date (usually a few weeks later) to have the procedure done. Best practice dictates that you have a counselling session first, followed by the operation a few weeks later because it gives you time to change your mind! This is why you have 2 separate appointments once referred.
The key points to remember about vasectomy are as follows:
1. You should consider it a potentially permanent operation. Although it is possible to reverse a vasectomy, the reversal operation isn't available on the NHS and isn't always successful
2. You need to provide a negative sample after the procedure (usually at 16-18 weeks) before stopping contraception. Don't stop contraception until you've been given the "all clear" by the clinic. Sometimes the samples remain positive and the procedure needs to be repeated (1 in 400 cases). A vasectomy isn't always 100% successful. There is a small failure rate of 1 in 2000 and this can sometimes happen many years down the line. All forms of contraception have a failure rate and no procedure is 100% effective for everyone.
The vasectomy operation takes around 45 minutes to perform and you should bring someone along to wait in the waiting room to take you home afterwards. You should provisionally book the rest of the week off from your work, and although most patients are back at work within this time, if complications occur or if you are a manual worker, you may be off work for a little longer. During your counselling appointment, you will be told about the various complications that can occur and any risks. However, try not to worry too much. Complications are unusual and the vast majority of patients are pleasantly surprised at how much better it was than they were expecting!
If you'd like to learn more about vasectomies, from a reputable source, here is an information leaflet for patients produced by the British Association of Urological Surgeons and it outlines the information we discuss during the pre-op counselling session.