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A vasectomy procedure is a permanent method of birth control for men, where the surgeon cuts and seals off a section of the male reproductive tract

in order to prevent sperm from exiting the man’s body during ejaculation.

A man’s reproductive system includes the testes, two oval-shaped structures in which sperm, a man’s reproductive cells, are produced.

Leading from each testicle is the vas deferens, a tube that carries sperm to the urethra, a channel in the penis that transports urine and sperm.

During ejaculation, each vas deferens propels sperm through the seminal vesicles and the prostate gland, structures that provide liquid nourishment and transport for the sperm.

Now called semen, this combination of sperm and supporting fluids continues its journey through the urethra and is ejected out of the penis.

During intercourse, the semen passes into a woman’s reproductive system where the sperm can meet and fertilize an egg.

If you don’t want to impregnate a woman, you may choose a birth control method from one of several categories:

Abstinence, to completely avoid pregnancy by not having sexual intercourse, Contraception, to temporarily avoid pregnancy through use of various methods during sexual intercourse,

or Sterilization, to permanently avoid pregnancy by having a medical procedure. Vasectomy is one form of sterilization.

Before the procedure begins, you will be given injections of a local anesthetic to numb the area.

In a conventional vasectomy, a scalpel will be used to make a small incision on one side of your scrotum, the thin-skinned pouch that houses the testicles.

Your physician will locate the vas deferens and lift it through the incision.

At this point, you may feel a pulling sensation.

The vas deferens will be cut and a small piece may be removed.

Next, the newly cut ends of the vas deferens will be tied, sealed with surgical clips, or cauterized.

The vas deferens will be returned to the scrotum and the incision closed with stitches.

The same steps will be repeated on the other side of the scrotum.

This procedure takes about 30 minutes.

In the non-scalpel method, your doctor will use a special ringed instrument to hold and expose the vas deferens.

From this point on, the procedure is the same as the conventional vasectomy.

This method is usually associated with faster healing and fewer complications, and is just as effective as the conventional method.

Immediately following either procedure, you will be asked to rest at the doctor’s office for a short time.

The incisions will heal in a few days, with little or no scarring.

After your procedure, you will need to limit your physical activity for 1–2 days.

You will not be able to shower for 24 hours.

You will need to avoid lifting heavy objects, performing hard labor and exercising strenuously for 5–7 days.

You will need to avoid sexual activity for 7 days.