Explore This Procedure
A vasectomy is a very popular minor surgical procedure through which the tubes (vasa deferentia) that deliver sperm from the testes to the seminal fluid during intercourse are cut or closed off. The procedure is usually done as a method of contraception or birth control to prevent pregnancy. However, sterilization does not occur immediately after the procedure because sperm are stored in the body for a period of time afterwards. Although it may be possible to reverse a vasectomy, for all practical purposes a vasectomy should be considered permanent sterilization.
The procedure involves the urologist making a tiny hole in the middle of the scrotum through which the vas deferentia (the tubes through which the sperm travel) are cut and tied off. This action prevents the flow of sperm into the seminal fluid, thus making the patient sperm free (in about 12 weeks). The procedure is done using a local anesthetic to numb the entry site in the scrotum. It takes approximately 30 minutes.
Benefits of Non-Scalpel Vasectomy
- Fewer complications
- Less bleeding and pain
- No sutures are needed
- Quicker recovery
Before a Vasectomy
The patient should not take any Motrin, Aspirin, Advil, Ibuprofen, Vitamin E, Nasprosyn or any other blood thinning medication for seven (7) days prior to the procedure. On the evening before or morning of the procedure the patient should shower and shave the scrotal area, particularly under the bend of the penis. Men should also bring an athletic supporter to wear home (it helps with support and minimizes swelling). There are no restrictions on diet prior to a vasectomy.
After a Vasectomy
Once home the patient should lay down, elevate the scrotum with a rolled towel and apply an ice pack (a bag of frozen peas or corn also works well) 20 minutes on the scrotum then 20 minutes off for 24 hours (while awake). It is best to continue to wear an athletic supporter for 5 to 7 days. Heavy exercising or contact sports are prohibited for at least seven (7) days. For pain we recommend taking Tylenol. Patients can return to work in several days unless the job requires moderate to heavy lifting or heavy physical activity, in which case a week to 2 weeks will be required to recover. Patients may shower but should not take a tub bath, sit in a hot tub or swim for seven (7) days.
There is no change in sexual function or desire after a vasectomy. However, it may take a week before an erection or ejaculation is comfortable. Patients may resume sexual activity when comfortable, but men MUST use a form of birth control because there are still sperm stored in the body and which must be expelled. For most men, it takes approximately 20 ejaculations and up to 12 weeks before the ducts are free of sperm.
All patients must bring in two (2) ejaculate samples in to be examined six (6) weeks apart after vasectomy. When the sperm count is zero (0) the patient is considered sterile. Until the sperm count is zero (0) the patient must practice a form of birth control.
Patients should call their doctor if they develop:
- Shaking chills and/or a fever greater than 101
- Pain which is not controlled by the pain medication
- Scrotal swelling (grapefruit size)
- Pressure, redness or drainage from the incision