Notice: This post mentions blood, arteries, testicles, and other fun stuff.
I had my vasectomy a little over 3 weeks ago. I had to dig up an old Twitter post to figure out how long ago the procedure was, and I’m really surprised that it was so recent. I guess the fact that time has passed so quickly says something about how my recovery has been.
My first vasectomy blog post was written on a Monday four days after the procedure. I still had major swelling and minor discomfort, but was able to get back to a normal routine of helping my wife with our daughters and going to work. Little did I know that this major swelling I had was abnormal. My wife grew concerned, and then I did too. So I called my doctor on Tuesday and he told me to start taking an anti-inflammatory (ibuprofen), keep using ice, and come in and see him if things weren’t better by Friday. One side was better by Friday, but the other was still quite abnormal.
My doctor took one look at me and explained that what we thought was swelling was actually a hematoma. Each testicle is in its own compartment, and while my doctor was cutting/tying/cauterizing the right vas deferens he nicked (and either didn’t see or didn’t properly cauterize) an artery that later proceeded to fill up the right compartment with blood. There’s no health risk involved, and no new procedure is needed to correct it. I just need to wait for anywhere from a few more weeks to a few months for my body to eventually absorb the silly-putty-container sized volume of old blood hanging out around my testicle. My doctor told me to trade the ice for a heating pad, and to keep up with the ibuprofen.
For the 2nd week and part of the 3rd week of my recovery the hematoma continued to cause minor discomfort. The area it inhabited was a little tender, and the mass and weight it possessed didn’t do its neighbor or their neighborhood much good. But now I barely think about it. I’m not certain that the hematoma has gone down, but it feels like it’s improved.
So now, a mere 3.5 weeks after my vasectomy, I’m only occasionally reminded of the rare complication that accompanied it. Aside from a temporary preference for briefs, a greater dislike of going out in the cold, and a cause to be extra protective against getting punched/kicked/etc. by my two-year-old, I’m back to my old self (also excluding the presumed and soon to be confirmed sterility).
In addition to being rare in the first place, hematomas are even less likely to occur after a no-scalpel vasectomy (less cutting but more fishing around and tugging, so my doc doesn’t do them). There are still plenty of horror stories online from men who’ve had other complications (like chronic pain) with their vasectomies to the point that they regret them, but those risks are even rarer.
I threw the dice, got a pretty decent roll, and am still very glad I did it.