One of the risks and potential effects of undergoing a vasectomy procedure is to succumb to post-vasectomy pain syndrome (PVPS), a condition affecting roughly one out of every 1,000 men who opt for the surgery. Unlike acute post-surgical pain that can last two to four weeks, PVPS symptoms can persist for months or even years after completion of the vasectomy.
This long-term pain, as you can imagine, can be truly debilitating and impact one’s quality of life. Defined as “constant or intermittent testicular pain for three months or longer with a severity that interferes with daily activities prompting the patient to seek medical treatment,” PVPS becomes even more frustrating when you consider how little is known about its treatment options. Despite a recent increase in men suffering from PVPS, a widely accepted protocol for evaluation and treatment has yet to be implemented.
However, there are a few ways to go about managing PVPS symptoms based on the severity of the patient’s pain. There are both non-surgical and surgical options, the latter typically being a last resort.
Oral Anti-Inflammatories – Ketorolac or ibuprofen can help with pain and inflammation of the vas deferens and epididymis (sperm duct)
Physical Therapy – Can help ease pelvic pain and discomfort that arises from testicular pain
Spermatic Cord Anesthetic Block (SCAB)– Combines numbing medicine and a steroid anti-inflammatory to work as an anesthesia for scrotal pain
Vasectomy Reversal – Straightforward method to undo the intended effects of the original vasectomy procedure, which should include any related side effects/pain (but this will make the patient fertile again)
Epididymectomy – Removes the epididymis (sperm duct) entirely so that any sperm blockage/inflammation is no longer a factor (but this also permanently prevents any chance of fatherhood or vasectomy reversal)
Microscopic spermatic cord denervation – Newer surgical method that decreases PVPS pain by removing all nerves that run adjacent to the spermatic cord, almost like a surgical version of the SCAB method above (maintains patient’s sterility)
If you think you’re suffering from PVPS or experiencing any prolonged post-vasectomy pain, contact your doctor immediately for an evaluation.