What is Vasectomy? Vasectomy is a simple surgical procedure that cuts and blocks off the tubes called the vas deferens that carry sperm from the testicles. It is done as a permanent form of male birth control. The procedure typically takes 15-30 minutes in the doctor’s office and has few risks or side effects. Vasectomy does not change a man’s sexual function or pleasure.
Around 500,000 vasectomies are performed every year in America. For couples looking for permanent contraception, vasectomy offers an effective option that is less invasive and easier to reverse than tubal ligation, the sterilization procedure for women. Many couples prefer vasectomy as a simple, safe means of birth control.
There are two main techniques to perform a vasectomy:
The doctor makes two small incisions on each side of the scrotum. A tiny section of each vas deferens tube is removed. The severed ends are then closed off through tying or cauterization. This blocks sperm from entering the semen.
In this newer method, no incisions are needed. Using special tools, the doctor accesses the vas deferens through tiny openings. As in traditional vasectomy, the tubes are then blocked. No stitches are required.
Both procedures use local anesthesia and take 15-30 minutes in an outpatient setting. men can usually go home shortly after.
Some minor swelling and bruising may occur for a few days after the procedure. Applying ice packs regularly can help minimize discomfort. Wearing snug underwear provides support.
Plan on taking it very easy for the first week. Stay in bed or off your feet for 2-3 days if possible. Avoid bathing for 48 hours so the incision sites can heal cleanly. Take any antibiotics prescribed to prevent infection.
Most men feel ready to return to normal activity after about a week. Listen to your body and don’t overexert yourself during recovery.
Doctors recommend waiting at least one week after vasectomy before having sex again. Keep in mind, sterility does not happen immediately. Residual sperm may remain for a couple months before they are cleared. Follow-up tests will confirm when sperm count reaches zero.
Vasectomy does not affect sex drive, arousal or performance. Some men report minor discomfort initially, but this usually resolves.
Vasectomy works by blocking sperm. During ejaculation, semen is still released, but it will not contain sperm. Without sperm, pregnancy cannot occur. Vasectomy provides nearly 100% effective contraception.
To perform a vasectomy, it helps to understand the male reproductive system. The testes are glands that produce both sperm and testosterone hormone. Sperm matures in the coiled tubes called epididymis connected to each testis.
The epididymis links to the vas deferens, which are tubes running up into the body. In ejaculation, the vas deferens release sperm to mix with prostate fluid, forming semen. By cutting the vas deferens, vasectomy blocks the sperm so they cannot reach the semen.
For couples who feel their family is complete, vasectomy offers a simple outpatient procedure for reliable male contraception. It carries far fewer risks than female sterilization. Talk to your urologist to learn if vasectomy may be right for you.