Table 1

Example of patient information leaflet

Before the operation After the operation
It is important that you have a full pubic and scrotal shave.The local anaesthetic lasts for over 1 hour but when it wears off you will experience some discomfort. This is usually slight, not severe and should be controlled by taking painkillers.You should resume intercourse as soon as you feel comfortable to do so making sure that you continue to use your usual method of contraception. There are still active sperm “upstream” from the site of the operation and these need to be ejaculated away.
Bring with you a clean pair of underpants of the “Y” front type (not boxer shorts) to hold a small dressing in place.
Keep the dressing in place until the following evening when you should bathe or shower. You will not need a dressing after this and a daily bath or shower will keep the area clean and help the stitches to dissolve.Try and ensure that you have two ejaculations per week in order to get rid of these before the first sperm test 3 months after the operation and the second test 1 month later. If these tests are clear then you will receive a letter telling you this so that you can discontinue contraception.
You may notice some bruising in the skin and slight swelling around the stitches. If you develop increasing discomfort, pain, swelling, redness and/or discharge you should consult your doctor without delay. Infection is uncommon but can be a complication of any operation and so can excessive bruising. For 48 hours after the operation it is best to avoid physical activities, straining, or heavy lifting as this reduces the risk of developing troublesome bruising. There is a small possibility of chronic pain or discomfort after vasectomy even after a straightforward, uncomplicated operation.There is the possibility that even after being given the “all clear” the operation may fail to keep you sterile but this is very rare and the risk of this happening is remote.
More commonly, but again infrequently, the sperm count may fail to clear and a reoperation is advised.