Vasectomy is a minor surgery that should take about 20 minutes whereby the urologist makes one or two small cuts in the scrotum and removes a segment of the tube, called the vas deferens, that transmit sperm from the testicles to the prostate.

After a small incision is made, one vas deferens tube is lifted out of the scrotum, cut, tied and/or sealed with heat cautery. The tube is replaced inside the scrotum and the procedure is then repeated on the other side. The skin is closed with sutures that dissolve and do not have to be removed.

Another popular option is a no-scalpel vasectomy. In this procedure, a small clamp with pointed ends is used to puncture the skin. Then each vas deferens is lifted out, cut, sealed and then put back in place. A no-scalpel vasectomy works just as well as a standard vasectomy.

Before Your Procedure

You should eat or drink as you usually do (you should not fast the night before). If you are diabetic, you should take your medication and eat as your normally do. If you wish to receive nitrous oxide (laughing gas) during your procedure, you will need to sign a consent at the front desk during check-in and pay an additional fee of $100.

Please bring either a jock strap or tight fitting underwear (eg compression shorts, briefs, etc.) At the time the procedure, your scrotum will be shaved and cleaned. Usually local anesthesia such as lidocaine is used to numb the skin and the vas deferens itself. So you will be awake but should not feel any pain.


Up to 20 in 100 men may have ongoing pain or discomfort after a vasectomy. Most often, it is due to congestion of sperm in the system behind the blockage. This usually resolves with time. The pain is most often treated with anti-inflammatory drugs, like ibuprofen. One to 6 men in 100 may need more treatment to ease their pain. Otherwise, the risk of side effects after a vasectomy is very low, but may include:

  • Bleeding under the skin, which may cause swelling or bruising. (Call your doctor if your scrotum swells a lot soon after your surgery.)
  • Infection at the site of the cut. It is rare for an infection to occur inside the scrotum.
  • A small lump forming because sperm leaks from a vas deferens into nearby tissue. This is usually not painful. If it is painful, it can be treated with rest and pain medicine. Sometimes, surgery may be needed to remove the lump.
  • In rare cases, the vas deferens may grow back together, which would allow the man to have children again.

Older studies suggested a risk of prostate cancer and heart disease years later in men who have had vasectomies. But many years of research since then have found no link between vasectomy and these health problems.

What to Expect After the Procedure

Your scrotum will be numb for one to two hours after a vasectomy. Put cold packs on the area. (The bag of frozen peas mentioned before works well.) Lie on your back as much as you can for the rest of the day. Mild discomfort or pain is normal after a vasectomy, and should be treated with pain relievers. Wearing snug underwear or a jockstrap will help ease discomfort and support the area.

You may have some swelling and minor pain in your scrotum for a few days after the surgery. You may be able to go back to work in one or two days. It depends on how you feel. But you should avoid heavy lifting (nothing greater than 10 pounds) for a week. You can have sex again as soon as you are comfortable, usually within a week. But keep in mind that the vasectomy is not effective from day one. Sperm may still be in the semen for many months after a vasectomy. It takes about 20 ejaculations or three months to clear the sperm from the tubes. However, results vary for different men. Most often, your urologist will test your sperm count three months later. This is done to make sure your semen is clear of sperm. Until the semen analysis demonstrates no sperm, sex without another method of birth control may lead to pregnancy. After recovering from a vasectomy, a man and his partner should notice no difference during sex. An uncomplicated vasectomy does not cause erection problems. Ejaculation and orgasm should feel the same. The amount of semen does not decrease more than five percent.

Please plan a quiet, comfortable day with light activity with no heavy lifting. We recommend no sexual activity for one week following the procedure. You may resume a regular diet immediately.

Please make sure to provide a semen sample in no sooner than 3 months following the vasectomy. This is the only way to be sure that the procedure was effective. Your physician will contact you with the results. Please call if you have not been contacted within 7 days of providing the specimen at 410.266.8049.

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