Complications of Vasectomy

Serious complications with vasectomy are rare. Up to 10 percent of men experience more pain, bleeding, or inflammation than others, and discomfort may persist longer than expected. This may be caused by a temporary buildup of pressure within the vas deferens. In rare cases, sperm is present in the semen for up to a year after surgery. This may be the result of poor sperm migration out of the vas deferens after surgery, or it may indicate that the severed ends of the vas deferens have reattached, a condition called recanalization.

The solution to this problem is repeat vasectomy. Occasionally, a condition called sperm granuloma develops, in which residual sperm make their way out of the tied ends of the vas deferens, producing irritation and a small nodule. These usually heal in time, although surgical removal is occasionally required.

Although there is no evidence that vasectomy increases a man's chance for prostate cancer, as a precaution, the Urology Care Foundation (formerly the American Urological Association [AUA]) recommends that men over 40 who had a vasectomy more than 20 years previously should have an annual test for prostate cancer. Annual exams are recommended for all men age 50 to 70.

Publication Review By: Barton H. Wachs, M.D., F.A.C.S.

Published: 15 Jun 1998

Last Modified: 20 Mar 2013