Vasectomy is a minor procedure to block sperm from reaching the semen that is ejaculated from the penis. Semen still exists, but it has no sperm in it. A vasectomy prevents pregnancy better than any other method of birth control, except abstinence.
What Happens under Normal Conditions?
Both sperm and male sex hormones are made in the testicles. Sperm leave the testes through the epididymis and is connected to the prostate by the vas deferens. When you ejaculate, seminal fluid mix with sperm to form semen. The semen flows through the urethra and comes out the end of your penis.
What Happens during a Vasectomy?
Vasectomies are done in your urologist’s office. You and your urologist will decide whether you wish to be fully sedated (put to sleep) for the procedure or have it performed under local anesthesia.
In the procedure room, your scrotal area will be shaved and washed with an antiseptic solution. Local anesthesia will be injected to numb the area, but you’ll be aware of touch, tension, and movement (if not under sedation). If you feel pain during the procedure, you can let your urologist know so you can get more anesthesia.
The urologist feels for the vas under the skin of the scrotum and holds it in place with a small clamp. A tiny hole is made in the skin and stretched open so the vas deferens can be gently lifted out. It is then cut, tied or seared, and put back in place.
What are the Risks?
Right after surgery, there’s a small risk of bleeding into the scrotum. If you have a fever, or your scrotum is red or sore, you should have your urologist check for infection. There is a small risk for post-vasectomy pain syndrome. Post-vasectomy pain syndrome is a steady pain that can follow a vasectomy. Studies show men who’ve had a vasectomy aren’t at a higher risk for heart disease, prostate cancer, testicular cancer, or other health problems.
What Should I Expect after a Vasectomy?
You may be uncomfortable after your vasectomy. You may need mild pain meds to take care of any pain.
You should go home right away after the procedure. You should avoid sex or activities that take a lot of strength. Swelling and pain can be treated with an ice pack on the scrotum and wearing a supportive undergarment, such as a jockstrap. Most men heal fully in less than a week. Many men are able to return to their job as early as the next day.
Sex can often be resumed within a week after the vasectomy. But it’s important to know that a vasectomy doesn’t work right away. After the vasectomy, new sperm won’t be able to get into the semen, but there will still be lots of sperm “in the pipeline” that takes time to clear. You will have to follow up with your urologist for semen analysis to check for sperm in your ejaculate. During this time, you should use other forms of birth control.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can my partner tell if I have had a vasectomy?
Sperm adds very little to the semen volume, so you shouldn’t notice any change in your ejaculate after vasectomy.
Will my sense of orgasm be changed by having a vasectomy?
Ejaculation and orgasm are usually not affected by vasectomy.
Can I become impotent after a vasectomy?
An uncomplicated vasectomy can’t cause impotence.
Can a vasectomy fail?
There is a small chance that a vasectomy may fail. This occurs when sperm leaking from one end of the cut vas deferens find a channel to the other cut end.