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Vasectomy: Care Instructions

Male reproductive system

What is a vasectomy?

A vasectomy is surgery that makes a man unable to father a child. The doctor cuts and ties or seals the tubes that carry sperm from the testicles to the penis (the vas deferens). The fluid released when you ejaculate (semen) will no longer contain sperm. A woman cannot get pregnant if there are no sperm to fertilize her egg.

To reach the vas deferens, the doctor will make either a small cut (incision) or a tiny puncture in both sides of the scrotum. You will be awake during the surgery, but you will get medicine to help you relax.

A vasectomy is a permanent method of birth control. Before you have the surgery, you should be sure you no longer want to have children.

A vasectomy will not change your ability to have sex or your sex drive. You will still be able to enjoy sex in the same way as before.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

How is a vasectomy done?

  • Your genital area will be washed with soap that kills germs. The area may be shaved.
  • You may be given medicine to relax you and make you sleepy.
  • You will get a shot to numb the area at the scrotum, where your doctor will make one or two small cuts. The scrotum is the skin sac that holds the testicles.
  • The doctor reaches the tube, which is just under the skin, through the small cut. The doctor seals, ties, or cuts each tube. The small cuts may be stitched closed. If you had a no-scalpel vasectomy, you may not have stitches at all.

When should you call for help?

Be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if:

  • You need more information about vasectomy.
  • You want to have a vasectomy.

Where can you learn more?

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Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.