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:
Chronic pain in and around the testicles
Sperm granuloma—lumps caused by an immune system response to sperm leaking from the reproductive organs
Ability to still make a woman pregnant
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:
Arrange for a ride to and from the procedure.
Wear comfortable clothing.
Take any medication as ordered by your doctor. A mild sedative before the procedure may be advised.
Shower before leaving home.
You may be asked to trim your scrotal hair.
Local anesthesia will be used. It will numb the area. You may also be given medication to help you relax.
Description of the Procedure
There are 3 techniques for a vasectomy:
—One small cut will be made in the skin on each side of the scrotum. The vas deferens will be pulled through the openings. The tubes will then be cut. A small piece of the tubes may also be removed. The ends of the tube will be sealed off with stitches, clips, or an electrical pulse. The vas deferens will then be placed back into the scrotum. The incision will be closed with stitches.
—The doctor will locate the vas deferens under the scrotal skin. A clamp will be attached to hold it in place. A special tool will be used to punch a small hole in the skin. The hole will be stretched open to pull the vas deferens through. The tubes will then be cut and sealed as above. The holes will heal without stitches.
Vas clip vasectomy
—The vas deferens will be exposed in either of the 2 manners above. Special clips will be placed around each vas deferens and cinched in place. The clips will block the flow of sperm beyond the position of the clip.
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.
Last reviewed November 2020 by
EBSCO Medical Review Board
Adrienne Carmack, MD
Last Updated: 12/20/2020
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