Learning About Vasectomy

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Picture of the male reproductive system

What is a vasectomy?

A vasectomy is surgery that makes a man unable to father a child. During a vasectomy, 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.

How is a vasectomy done?

A vasectomy is done in a clinic or outpatient department of a hospital.

A nurse or other health professional may shave your scrotum. The doctor will inject some medicine into the skin of the scrotum to numb it. You will feel a small needle stick.

Before surgery, you may get medicine to help you relax and not feel pain. You may get pills, and you may get medicine through a tube (called an IV) in one of your veins. You will be awake during the surgery, but you may not be able to remember much about it.

The surgeon will make either a small incision (less than 1½ centimetre long) or a puncture in the upper part of the scrotum. The vas deferens is cut and the ends are sealed. If you had an incision, it will be closed with small stitches. If your doctor used the puncture method, you will not need stitches. The procedure is done on both sides of the scrotum. The surgery takes about 30 minutes.

What can you expect after a vasectomy?

You will have a bandage on your scrotum.

You should be able to go home as soon as the vasectomy is over. You may have some pain that can be controlled with over-the-counter pain medicine.

You will need to use a reliable form of birth control until the doctor is certain that you are not releasing sperm in your semen. This is usually checked 6 to 8 weeks after the vasectomy.

The vasectomy will not affect your enjoyment of sex. It will not lower your levels of testosterone.

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.

Where can you learn more?

Go to https://www.healthwise.net/patientEd

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Current as of: December 3, 2017