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.
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.
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:
The doctor will review previous tests. 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.
There are 3 techniques for a vasectomy:
Conventional vasectomies take about 30 minutes. No-scalpel procedures take about 20 minutes.
Anesthesia prevents pain during the procedure. You can expect some soreness for a few days. Take pain medications as directed by your doctor.
Heavy lifting and other treatment may be limited for a few weeks.
A vasectomy may not make you sterile right away. Birth control should be continued until tests show the surgery was successful.
Contact your doctor if your recovery is not going as you expect or have problems 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: http://www.auanet.org/guidelines/vasectomy-(2012-amended-2015).
Vasectomy. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T115819/Vasectomy. Accessed December 18, 2020.
Vasectomy. National Institute of Child Health and Human Development website. Available at: https://www.nichd.nih.gov/health/topics/vasectomy/Pages/default.aspx. Accessed December 18, 2020.
Vasectomy. Planned Parenthood website. Available at: https://www.plannedparenthood.org/learn/birth-control/vasectomy. Accessed December 18, 2020.
6/2/2011 DynaMed Plus Systematic Literature Surveillancehttp://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T905141/Treatment-for-tobacco-use: 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 November 2020 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Adrienne Carmack, MD Last Updated: 12/20/2020