Vasectomy vs. Tubal Ligaton

Couple discussing vasectomy vs tubal ligation

If you are a couple considering permanent contraception, then you have two options; vasectomy and tubal ligation. Some couples find the decision to have no or more children to be difficult and emotional, especially when choosing which partner should undergo the procedure. While every couple is different, we recommend weighing up the pros and cons of both choices before making your decision.

Comparing vasectomy to tubal ligation 

While both are intended to achieve the same result (permanent contraception), comparing tubal ligation to a vasectomy is like comparing apples to oranges. A vasectomy is an outpatient procedure performed under local anaesthetic with minimal recovery time. A tubal ligation is considered an invasive surgery requiring general anaesthetic and greater recovery time. However, both have their own benefits and disadvantages.

The benefits and disadvantages of tubal ligation 

Tubal ligation, or having your ‘tubes tied’, is an option for women who no longer want to conceive a child. Currently 99% effective, tubal ligation is considered a permanent surgery with very limited possibility of a reversal. Tubal ligation can be an appealing choice for women who experience negative side effects from other contraceptives such as oral pills or the Intrauterine Device (IUD). 

A salpingectomy is now more common than the traditional tubal ligation and involves the removal of one or both fallopian tubes. A salpingectomy is usually considered as a prevention measure to reduce the risk of ovarian cancer and prevent ectopic pregnancy. It can also be used to treat endometriosis, fallopian infection and fallopian, uterine or ovarian cancer. 

Tubal ligation is a surgery that requires a patient to go under general anaesthetic. Due to this, there are risks of surgical complications including infection, internal bleeding and reaction to anaesthetic. The recovery from the procedure can be painful and occasionally involves a hospital stay. Due to the complexity of the procedure, it can be expensive costing thousands of dollars depending on insurance and the medical provider 

The benefits and disadvantages of a vasectomy 

A vasectomy is an ideal procedure for men who are wanting an easy and effective contraception option. Vasectomies also have a greater chance of being reversed compared to tubal ligation. Undergoing a vasectomy is an outpatient procedure and only requires local anesthesia so there is minimal recovery time is required. 

While the procedure of a vasectomy is only 15 minutes, the recovery time is estimated around 24 hours and some patients may experience pain and swelling for a few days following the operation. Unlike the tubal ligation, a vasectomy does not prevent from any cancers or other conditions. 

Compared to the higher risks of a tubal ligation, the side effects of a vasectomy are considerably low. Chronic pain, infection and bruising are some of the risks of undergoing a vasectomy. 

Vasectomy Tubal Ligation
Cost (approximate) $500 out of pocket at Hoppers Lane $4,500, depending on private insurance and provider
Procedure Time (approximate) 20 minutes 30 minutes
Recovery Time 24 hours 1 week
Risks Possibility of infection, blood clotting and chronic pain. Possibility of infection and damage to blood vessels, bladder, bowel. Chronic pelvic and abdomen pain is also a risk.
Side Effects Can experience minor discomfort and swelling. Can experience shoulder pain, sore throat, bloating, scarring, and vaginal bleeding or discharge post procedure. Fatigue, dizziness and abdomen pain is also common. Scarring can occur.
Reversal Possible Highly unlikely

Seek expert advice

To ensure you make the decision right for you and your partner, we recommend seeking expert advice. At Hoppers Lane, we can answer any questions regarding vasectomy procedures and why it’s recommended over tubal ligation. Get in touch today. 

Please note: Hoppers Lane GP does not provide tubal ligation surgery.

This article was reviewed by Dr Suman Musku

A UK-trained enthusiastic GP with 14 years’ experience. Dr Suman Musku has been working as a GP for several years and enjoys being a Generalist. His Membership in surgery and hospital rotations has allowed him to competently practice and manage Chronic Disease conditions and surgical problems.

His clinical interests include men’s health (vasectomies), dermatology and minor surgical procedures. Dr Suman has a passion towards teaching and has students from Melbourne Medical School. He holds high regards to communication skills and is appreciative of social/psychological factors involved in a patient’s life. “My aim is to strive towards providing exceptional standard of care to my patients”.

Does a vasectomy hurt?

Does a vasectomy hurt?

Considering a vasectomy, but worried about the pain? You are not alone. Many men are initially hesitant about undergoing a vasectomy because of the potential pain and discomfort involved. We have even been asked whether the pain of a vasectomy is comparable to a kick to the testicles! Fortunately, we can attest that it is not nearly as painful. 

 

You are likely to feel some pain during the procedure and while recovering, however both are not long lasting or exceedingly painful.

 

Is the procedure painful?

We use a procedure called a no scalpel vasectomy. This vasectomy does not use a scalpel, which reduces postoperative pain and improves recovery time. The operation usually takes around 30 minutes to complete.

 

During the operation, local anaesthetic will be applied which can cause some minor discomfort. 

Some patients also report that they feel some tugging or pressure during the procedure which can feel slightly uncomfortable, but not considered painful and eases by the end of the procedure. 

 

What about the recovery?

The recovery from a no scalpel vasectomy is expected to be slightly uncomfortable than the procedure. We recommend our patients to rest for 24 hours following the operation. As it’s an outpatient procedure, you are able to drive home afterwards. However, some men find it takes a few days until they feel 100 hundred per cent. We advise you to limit any strenuous activity such as cycling or running for at least seven days after the procedure. The same advice applies to any sexual activity. 

 

Following your procedure, your doctor will give you postoperative aftercare written advice and suggest any specific pain management options. Many patients report that icing the area, elevation and rest can help reduce swelling and quicken the recovery time. Any throbbing or pain usually lasts a few days and can be treated with over the counter medication such as Panadol or Nurofen. 

 

The risks involved

Just like any minor surgery, there are some minimal risks involved when undergoing a vasectomy like infection and minimal bleeding which can be managed easily. Many patients worry about increased cancer risk, however there is currently no evidence from clinical trials that shows an association between prostate cancer and having a vasectomy.

The risk of complications during a procedure is extremely low. There is a small risk of possible infection, blood clotting and chronic pain following a vasectomy. Your doctor will ensure you are aware of these before your procedure and can prescribe a postoperative treatment plan if necessary.

This article was reviewed by Dr Suman Musku

A UK-trained enthusiastic GP with 14 years’ experience. Dr Suman Musku has been working as a GP for several years and enjoys being a Generalist. His Membership in surgery and hospital rotations has allowed him to competently practice and manage Chronic Disease conditions and surgical problems.

His clinical interests include men’s health (vasectomies), dermatology and minor surgical procedures. Dr Suman has a passion towards teaching and has students from Melbourne Medical School. He holds high regards to communication skills and is appreciative of social/psychological factors involved in a patient’s life. “My aim is to strive towards providing exceptional standard of care to my patients”.