Vasectomy is a minimally invasive surgical procedure for male sterilization designed for men that are seeking a more permanent form of birth control. It is an excellent option for men that have finished building their families and are looking for the most reliable and convenient way to prevent future pregnancy.
The vas deferens are long thin tubes that carry sperm from the testicle to the ejaculatory ducts and penis. In most men they are easily felt in the scrotum. As a result, most vasectomies can be performed in the clinic under local anesthesia with little to no discomfort to the patient.
During a vasectomy, a small hole is made in the scrotal skin. The vas deferens are then identified and sealed shut to prevent passage of sperm. There are many techniques by which a surgeon may accomplish this, but many surgeons now prefer a ‘no-needle, no-scalpel’ technique. This reduces anxiety and allows most patients to return to their typical activities and sexual behavior within a week with minimal discomfort.
Some Common Questions
What is the typical recovery time? It's generally recommended that all patients ‘take it easy’ during the first 48 hours following their procedure. This entails intermittent icing and resting with your feet elevated. All patients should wear supportive underwear like athletic shorts or a jock strap. Any lifting over 10 lbs (or, for reference, a gallon of milk) should be strictly avoided as should any straddling position (like with a bicycle or motorcycle).
Following these first 48 hours, men are free to resume their typical daily activities although we still ask that they continue to avoid lifting more than 10 lbs until they are at least 2 weeks out from their procedure. Any bicycling or motorcycle riding should be avoided until at least 1 month from the procedure.
How long does the procedure take? Most vasectomies can be completed in the office in less than 30 minutes.
Is it painful? During the procedure your physician will use a significant amount of local anesthesia. While some men may report feeling pressure during the procedure, they are otherwise completely numb. Afterwards most patients are typically sore for the first 48 hours, but frequently don’t require any pain medication after that period of time.
Am I considered ‘sterile’ immediately after the procedure? When can I start having unprotected sex? Because of the length of the vas deferens, the ejaculatory tract needs to be thoroughly ‘flushed’ in order for all viable sperm to be evacuated from the remaining tubing. Men are typically asked to submit a semen analysis to confirm that there is no sperm in their ejaculate after 2 months or 30 ejaculations, whichever comes first. Only after this is confirmed is one considered to be sterile and safe to engage in unprotected sex.
Will this change how sex feels or my erections? Will I still ejaculate afterwards? Vasectomy does not alter the actual sensation of sex, orgasm, OR the ability to achieve erections. Sperm itself only makes up 5-10% of overall semen volume, so you will still ejaculate and most men report not noticing any difference.