A vasectomy is a surgery that makes a man unable to make a woman pregnant. This is done by blocking the tubes through which sperm normally pass on their way from the testes to the penis. These tubes are called the vas deferens.
A vasectomy is done as permanent birth control. This option is for men who are sure they will not want to father a child in the future. Surgery to reverse the procedure is not always successful.
If you are planning to have a vasectomy, your doctor will review a list of possible complications which may include:
Factors that may increase the risk of complications include:
Your doctor may do the following:
Talk to your doctor about your medicines. You may be asked to stop taking some medicines up to one week before the procedure like:
In the days leading up to your procedure:
Local anesthesia will be used. It will numb the area.
There are three techniques for a vasectomy:
Conventional vasectomy takes about 30 minutes. No-scalpel procedures take about 20 minutes.
Anesthesia prevents pain during the procedure. You can expect some soreness for a few days. Take pain medicines as directed by your doctor.
When you return home, do the following to help ensure a smooth recovery:
Most men may feel fine to go back to work in a few days. They may also feel ready for sexual activity in about a week. Ejaculation may cause some discomfort in the groin and testicles until the tissues heal. You will have two tests, 4-6 weeks apart, to check to make sure that no sperm are present. You will need to use an alternate method of birth control until it has been confirmed that there are no sperm in your semen.
After arriving home, contact your doctor if any of the following occurs:
American Society of Reproductive Medicine
American Urological Association
National Institutes of Health
Men's Health Centre
Pfenninger JL, Fowler GC. Procedures for Primary Care Physicians. 1st ed. Philadelphia, PA: Mosby-Year Book; 1994.
Vasectomy. National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. National Institute of Child Health and Human Development website. Available at: http://www.nichd.nih.gov/health/topics/vasectomy.cfm. Accessed October 21, 2009.
Vasectomy. Planned Parenthood website. Available at: http://www.plannedparenthood.org/health-topics/birth-control/vasectomy-4249.htm. Updated June 25, 2008. Accessed October 21, 2009.
Last reviewed October 2009 by Adrienne Carmack, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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