|Vasectomy is a form of male birth control that cuts the supply of sperm to your semen. It's done by cutting and sealing the tubes that carry sperm. Vasectomy has a low risk of problems and can usually be performed in an outpatient setting under local anesthesia.
Before getting a vasectomy, however, you need to be certain you don't want to father a child in the future. Vasectomy is considered a permanent form of male birth control.
Vasectomy offers no protection from sexually transmitted infections.
|Why it's done
|Vasectomy is a safe and effective birth control choice for men who are certain they don't want to father a child.
- Vasectomy is nearly 100 percent
effective in preventing pregnancy.
- Vasectomy is an outpatient surgery
with a low risk of complications or side effects.
- The cost of a vasectomy is far less
than the cost of female sterilization (tubal ligation) or the
long-term cost of birth control medications for women.
- You won't need to take birth control
steps before sex, such as putting on a condom.
|A potential concern with vasectomy is that you may later change your mind about wanting to father a child. Although it may be possible to reverse your vasectomy, there's no guarantee it will work. Reversal surgery is more complicated than vasectomy, can be expensive and is ineffective for many men. Before you get a vasectomy, you should be certain you don't want to father a child in the future.
For most men, a vasectomy doesn't cause any noticeable side effects, and serious complications are rare.
Side effects right after surgery can include:
Delayed complications can include:
- Bleeding or a blood clot
(hematoma) inside the scrotum
- Blood in your semen
- Bruising of your scrotum
- Infection of the surgery site
- Mild pain or discomfort
- Chronic pain (rare)
- Fluid buildup in the
testicle, which can cause a dull ache that gets worse with
- Inflammation caused by leaking sperm
- Pregnancy, in the event that your
vasectomy fails (rare)
|Many men worry that a vasectomy could cause serious problems — but these fears are unfounded. For example, a vasectomy won't:
- Affect your sexual
vasectomy won't affect your sex drive or your masculinity in any way
other than preventing you from fathering a child.
- Permanently damage your
very little risk that your testicles, penis or other parts of your
reproductive system will be injured during surgery.
- Increase your risk of
there have been some concerns about a possible link between
vasectomy and prostate and testicular cancer in the past, there's no
- Increase your risk of heart
cancer fears, there doesn't appear to be any link between vasectomy
and heart problems.
- Cause severe pain.
may feel minor pain and pulling or tugging during surgery, but
severe pain is rare. Likewise, after surgery you may have some pain,
but for most men it's minor and goes away after a few days.
|What you can expect
|A vasectomy is usually done at a doctor's office or surgery center under local anesthesia, which means you'll be awake and have medicine to numb the surgery area.
Vasectomy surgery usually takes about 15 to 20 minutes. To perform a vasectomy, your doctor will likely follow these steps:
- Numb the surgery area by injecting a
local anesthetic into the skin of your scrotum with a small needle.
- Make a small cut (incision) in the
upper part of your scrotum once the surgery area is numb. Or with
the "no-scalpel" technique, make a small puncture in the scrotum
instead of an incision.
- Locate the tube that carries semen
from your testicle (vas deferens).
- Withdraw part of the vas deferens
through the incision or puncture.
- Cut the vas deferens where it has
been pulled out of the scrotum.
- Seal the vas deferens by tying it,
using heat (cauterizing) or surgical clips. Then your doctor will
return the ends of the vas deferens to the scrotum.
- Stitch up the incision at the
surgery area. Stitches aren't necessary if your doctor has used the
Following a vasectomy, you'll have some bruising, swelling and pain. It usually gets better within a few days. Your doctor will give you instructions for recovery. Your doctor may tell you to:
Avoid any sexual activity for a week or so. If you do ejaculate, you may feel pain or notice blood in your semen. If you have sexual intercourse, use another form of birth control until your doctor confirms that sperm are no longer present in your semen.
- Call right away if you have
signs of infection, such as blood oozing from the surgery site;
a temperature of more than 100.4 F (38 C), or worsening pain or
- Support your scrotum with a
bandage and tightfitting underwear for at least 48 hours after
- Apply ice packs to the scrotum for
the first two days.
- Limit activity after surgery.
You'll need to rest for 24 hours after surgery. You can probably
do light activity after two or three days, but you'll need to
avoid sports, lifting and heavy work for a week or so. Overdoing
it could cause pain or bleeding inside the scrotum.
- Refrain from bathing or swimming
for at least 24 hours after surgery.