Objective To assess the prevalence of chronic post-vasectomy testicular pain (CPTP) compared to the prevalence of chronic testicular pain in a control population of non-vasectomised men.
Methods A retrospective postal study of 198 men who had a vasectomy more than 3 years previously at the Palatine Centre to determine the incidence of CPTP, of whom 101 (51%) replied (mean age 40.4 years, range 29-54 years, mean time since vasectomy 46.5 months). A control group of 102 men (mean age 40.2 years, range 28-55 years) who had not had a vasectomy were obtained via patients attending the community family planning clinics or associated general practitioner (GP) services in the same geographical area.
Results Occasional non-troublesome discomfort was reported by 37/101 of the post-vasectomy men compared to 21/102 of the control group. Occasional discomfort which was a nuisance was felt by 10/101 of the post-vasectomy group compared with 3/102 of the control group, and 6/101 in the post-vasectomy group reported pain severe enough to seek medical advice compared to only 2/102 controls. None of the post-vasectomy men regretted having had the operation.
Conclusions Only 6% of cases (compared to 2% of controls) experienced pain severe enough to seek medical advice in the 3-4-year post-operative period. However, there was a significant difference in the prevalence of occasional testicular discomfort between post-vasectomy men and controls. Mostly these pains were not regarded as troublesome, however men attending for vasectomy counselling should be informed of the possibility of this morbidity.
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