A vasectomy is a minimally invasive surgical procedure that provides birth control for men, preventing sperm from moving out of the testicles and into semen. After a successful vasectomy, men are unable to get women pregnant.


A vasectomy is considered a permanent procedure, but vasectomy reversal is possible.


When performing a vasectomy, a urological surgeon cuts the vas deferens, the tubes that carry sperm from the testicles to the urethra. This usually is an in-office procedure that takes about 30 minutes. Patients are awake during the procedure. A local anesthetic is used to numb the scrotum.


Men seeking a vasectomy have two options.


Conventional vasectomy

A cut is made in the scrotum to reach the vas deferens. A small section of the vas deferens is cut and removed. The remaining ends of the vas deferens are cauterized to close the opening and tied off with stitches. This is done on each testicle, either through the initial incision or through a second incision. When the procedure is complete, the incisions will be closed with a few stitches or a skin glue.


No-scalpel vasectomy

A small puncture hole is made on one side of the scrotum. The vas deferens will be located under the skin and pulled through the hole. It will be cut and a small section removed. The ends of the vas deferens are cauterized or tied off and placed back under the skin. This is done on each testicle. No stitches are needed to close the puncture holes.


Most vasectomy patients go home the same day. Recovery usually takes about a week. It takes about three months after a vasectomy for it to take effect. Patients’ semen is tested to make sure there are no sperm in it.


A vasectomy does not affect a man’s sex life. However, a vasectomy does not protect against sexually transmitted diseases. Men who have a vasectomy are urged to practice safe sex to avoid contracting STDs.



Additional Resources


U.S. National Library of Medicine


National Institutes of Health: Vasectomy


Urology Care Foundation: What is a vasectomy?


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