Chronic Scrotal Pain is the most dreaded complication among men who are considering vasectomy. It is also the complication that is the least understood by medical professionals.
Chronic Scrotal Pain is pain experienced for more than six (6) months after a vasectomy and is severe enough to interfere with the one’s quality of life and cause them to seek the advice of a health care professional. Chronic Scrotal Pain occurs after vasectomy, but it is equally important to recognize men can develop chronic scrotal/testicular pain after any urologic surgery. This pain syndrome has been described after hernia and kidney surgery. The syndrome is poorly understood and has not been well studied.
Estimates of chronic pain after vasectomy range from less than 1% to as high as 30%. The problem with many medical studies on pain after vasectomy is these studies are not well done. Many of these studies describe small groups of patents, don’t select the appropriate patients, don’t use good comparison groups, or don’t use scientific accepted measurements of pain perception.
According to the American Urologic Association, the best scientific study on post-vasectomy pain suggests the chance of having pain seven (7) months after vasectomy is around 0.9% or 9 out of every 1000 vasectomy patients. The overall chance of developing chronic scrotal discomfort after vasectomy is between 1-2% but most men will not need any major treatment for this discomfort.
Pain After Vasectomy: Normal vs. Abnormal?
Minor pain and discomfort after vasectomy is normal for most men. Typically the average vasectomy patient experiences discomfort for several days but this discomfort can last for several weeks to months. For some the discomfort is constant and for others it is episodic.
If pain persists for more than six (6) months then it is most likely a symptomatic nodule in the area of vas deferens division or inflammation of the epididymis. This should gradually resolve and if not then the symptomatic nodule may need to be removed. Pain persisting for more than six (6) months after vasectomy and is not limited to the vas deferens site of division or the epididymis is not typical and may be Chronic Scrotal Pain.
Chronic Scrotal Pain is estimated to occur in less than 9 out of every 1000 patients or <0.9%. The treatment of the syndrome may require medication, nerve blocks, vasectomy reversal, or surgery to transect the involved nerves.