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Sperm passes from the testicles to the penis in tubes called the vas deferens. A vasectomy is a surgery that blocks these tubes. This makes a man unable to make a woman pregnant.
Reasons for Procedure TOP
A vasectomy is done as permanent birth control. This option is for men who are sure they will not want to father a child in the future. There is a surgery to reverse a vasectomy. However, the reversal is not always successful.
Possible Complications TOP
Problems from the procedure are rare, but all procedures have some risk. Your doctor will review potential problems, like:
Before your procedure, talk to your doctor about ways to manage factors that may increase your risk of complications such as:
What to Expect TOP
Prior to Procedure
Your doctor may do the following:
Talk to your doctor about your medications. You may be asked to stop taking some medications up to one week before the procedure.
In the days leading up to your procedure:
Local anesthesia will be used. It will numb the area. You may also be given medication to help you relax.
Description of the Procedure TOP
There are 3 techniques for a vasectomy:
How Long Will It Take? TOP
Conventional vasectomies take about 30 minutes. No-scalpel procedures take about 20 minutes.
Will It Hurt? TOP
Anesthesia prevents pain during the procedure. You can expect some soreness for a few days. Take pain medications as directed by your doctor.
Post-procedure Care TOP
When you return home, do the following to help ensure a smooth recovery:
A vasectomy may not make you sterile right away. Tests will be done to look for any sperm in the semen. The tests may be done at your doctor's office or with a home test kit. These tests are done to make sure that the procedure was effective.
Call Your Doctor TOP
Contact your doctor if your recovery is not progressing as expected or you develop complications such as:
If you think you have an emergency, call for emergency medical services right away.
Reproductive Facts—American Society for Reproductive Medicine
Urology Care Foundation
Men's Health Centre
Sharlip I, Belker A, Stanton H, Labrecque M, Marmar J, Ross L, Sandlow J, Sokal D. American Urological Association Vasectomy Guideline. Updated 2015. Available at:
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Vasectomy. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T115819/Vasectomy. Updated December 15, 2016. Accessed December 18, 2017.
Vasectomy. National Institute of Child Health and Human Development website. Available at: https://www.nichd.nih.gov/health/topics/vasectomy/Pages/default.aspx. Updated June 3, 2013. Accessed December 18, 2017.
Vasectomy. Planned Parenthood website. Available at: https://www.plannedparenthood.org/learn/birth-control/vasectomy. Accessed December 18, 2017.
6/2/2011 DynaMed Plus Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.dynamed...: Mills E, Eyawo O, Lockhart I, Kelly S, Wu P, Ebbert JO. Smoking cessation reduces postoperative complications: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Am J Med. 2011;124(2):144-154.
Last reviewed December 2017 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Adrienne Carmack, MD
Last Updated: 12/20/2014
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