What is a Vasectomy?
A vasectomy is a procedure that makes a man permanently unable to get a woman pregnant. It involves cutting or blocking two tubes, called the vas deferens, so that sperm can no longer get into the semen.
What is the Procedure Like?
Vasectomy may be the safest, most effective kind of birth control. Only about 1 or 2 out of 1,000 couples get pregnant the first year after a vasectomy.
A vasectomy is usually done in your doctor’s office or in an outpatient surgery center. The operation takes about 30 minutes. You’ll be awake during the procedure. Your doctor will give you a local anesthetic to numb your scrotum. After you’re numb, your doctor will make a very small puncture (hole) on one side of your scrotum and pull out part of the vas deferens on that side. You may feel some tugging and pulling.
He or she will then remove a small section of the vas deferens, and seal it with small clamps. Your doctor will then do the same thing on the other side. The puncture is so small that it heals without stitches.
How should I prepare for the operation?
On the day of the procedure, bring a jockstrap (an athletic supporter) with you, and make sure your genital area is clean. Your doctor may give you instructions on how to clean the area before you come in. Your doctor may suggest you bring someone to drive you home after surgery.
What can I expect after the operation?
You may have some pain, swelling, and bruising in the area where the surgery was performed. The bruises should slowly lighten and be gone in about two weeks. You should feel back to normal within a couple of weeks. Your doctor will give you instructions to follow after surgery. The instructions may include:
Wear tight-fitting underwear or a jock strap to support your scrotum.
Use an ice pack to help with the pain and swelling.
Get plenty of rest.
Limit yourself to light activity until you heal.
Is it okay to take medicine?
Don’t take aspirin, ibuprofen (brand names: Advil, Motrin, Nuprin), ketoprofen (brand name: Orudis), or naproxen (brand name: Aleve) for one week before the procedure. All of these can thin your blood and increase bleeding. Ibuprofen and naproxen can be taken after the procedure, but you shouldn’t take aspirin for another week. You can also try acetaminophen (brand name: Tylenol) to relieve pain.
When can I go back to work?
If you have a desk job, expect to return to work after a couple of days. If you do physical labor, or walk or drive a lot, talk with your doctor about when you can go back to work.
Will the vasectomy work right away?
No. You’ll need to ejaculate as many as 15 to 20 times or wait up to 3 months before the sperm will be cleared from both of the vas deferens. For that reason, keep using birth control. Your doctor will ask you to bring in samples of your ejaculation two or three months after the procedure. Only after you have a sperm-free sample will you be considered unable to get a woman pregnant.
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