A vasectomy is a surgical procedure that stops sperm from leaving your body, providing permanent birth control (contraception). The procedure closes off the ends of the vas deferens, which are the tubes that carry sperm. Vasectomy is safe and effective for preventing pregnancy, but it doesn’t protect against disease.
What happens before a vasectomy?
Before a vasectomy, you should talk with your healthcare provider seriously about the surgery. You should be sure that you don’t want to have any children or more children. You should consider a vasectomy a permanent form of birth control. Although there’s a procedure to reverse a vasectomy, it isn’t always successful.
Shaving and washing
The night before or the morning of the vasectomy, shave away the hair from your entire scrotum. Remove the hair all the way to the top of your penis, including any pubic hair that seems to fall onto your scrotum.
How is the vasectomy procedure done?
There are two types of vasectomies. One is an incision vasectomy, and the other is a no-scalpel vasectomy. Both are done in doctors’ offices or outpatient surgery centers. Both use local anesthesia to numb your scrotum. The anesthesia is given as a shot.
Both types of vasectomies divide and close off the ends of the vas deferens (the tubes that carry sperm), preventing sperm from getting through. This stops the sperm from mixing with semen and releasing when a man ejaculates during an orgasm.
Your surgeon will make an opening in your skin and grasp the vas deferens. The vas deferens is then divided and tied, clipped or cauterized. Cauterizing closes cuts with an electrical current.
There’s little discomfort with a vasectomy. Your scrotum will be numb, but some men feel a slight “tugging” sensation or a feeling of things moving around. Your surgeon will decide if you need stitches, depending on how they routinely do the procedure.
What happens after you have a vasectomy?
You’ll probably have mild discomfort, bruising and swelling after the procedure. You can take acetaminophen (for example, Tylenol®) every four hours for the discomfort. You can place ice packs over your scrotal supporter and dressing. Using ice packs repeatedly for the first 36 hours helps keep the swelling down. Always be sure to wrap the ice pack in a towel or put something between it and your skin.
Change the dressing when it’s stained or soiled. You can buy small sterile gauze squares at any drugstore. You can remove the dressing when it’s dry or stain-free, usually within a day or so. You can expect a small amount of oozing. Having the fluid drain out is better for you than having it build up on the inside.
You can start showering the day after the vasectomy. Avoid baths or swimming for a couple of weeks. To dry your scrotum, pat dry with a towel. Don’t rub.
Sometimes, your skin might separate due to tissue fluid, oozing blood or body fluids. If this happens, you can use sterile gauze and your fingers to pinch the edges together. This’ll bring your skin together and allow it to heal. Scarring is minimal, if it even happens at all.
It’s common to have some of these symptoms after a vasectomy. They should go away within 72 hours of surgery.