Sterilization as permanent birth control. Part 2

Posted On: Tuesday, October 30th, 2012 at 1:24 pm

Tubal ligation — Depending on the procedure used, tubal ligation may be done with either local or general anesthetic. With general anesthesia, you are unconscious during the operation. If a local is used, you will probably also receive a sedative.

How long does it take to recover?

Vasectomy — The procedure is brief (about 30 minutes) and you can go home within a few hours. You will be told to refrain from strenuous activity for 48 hours. If your work does not involve hard physical labor, you may return to the job as soon as you feel able.

Tubal ligation — You will probably be up and around within 8 hours. For most women, recovery takes only a day or two, but you should refrain from heavy lifting for at least a week.
Are there potential complications?

Vasectomy — The rate of complications is low. You may have some swelling and pain in the scrotum for a few days to several weeks. Sperm granulomas — small, hard inflamed nodules — sometimes develop at the severed ends of the vas deferens. These usually resolve on their own, but surgery may be necessary to eliminate them. Infection and bleeding are infrequent complications.

Tubal ligation — Risks are low, with infection and bleeding the most likely complications. Bleeding is usually the result of injury to a blood vessel during surgery. General anesthesia, if used, carries higher risks than a local anesthetic.

Are there long-term health risks?

Vasectomy — Although the relationships between vasectomy and atherosclerosis (buildup of plaque on artery walls), heart disease and testicular cancer have been a concern in the past, studies now suggest these fears are unfounded. Another concern is increased risk of prostate cancer. Studies to date have been inconclusive. Some research has shown a weak but statistically significant relationship between vasectomy and prostate cancer, but most does not. In 1993, the National Institutes of Health convened a panel of experts to review the published reports. The committee recommended that further research should be conducted, but that changes in current vasectomy practices were not warranted.

Tubal ligation — The long-term effects of sterilization on the menstrual cycle, pelvic pain and later pelvic surgery are controversial. Although menstrual disturbance had been considered a possible effect of sterilization, recent studies show little or no difference in menstrual cycles in women before and after sterilization, or between sterilized and unsterilized women, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG). ACOG notes that women sterilized before age 30 are more likely to have a hysterectomy later on.

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