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Vasectomy

AMBULATORY CARE:

A vasectomy

is a procedure to make you sterile. It is a permanent form of birth control. The vas deferens (sperm tubes) are cut so that the semen does not contain sperm.

Male Reproductive System

How to prepare for a vasectomy:

  • Talk to your partner about the type of birth control you will use right after your procedure. You will need to use another form of birth control until tests show that your semen does not contain sperm. This may take up to 3 months. When you have sex, use a condom, or have your partner use hormonal birth control, an IUD, or a diaphragm during this time. This will help prevent pregnancy.
  • Your healthcare provider will tell you how to prepare for your procedure. He or she may want you to bring an athletic supporter with you. You will use it after surgery to support your scrotum while you heal. You may be given instructions for how to clean your scrotum on the day of surgery.
  • Your provider may tell you not to eat or drink anything after midnight on the day of your procedure. He or she will tell you what medicines to take or not take on the day of your procedure. Arrange to have someone drive you home after the procedure and stay with you.

What will happen during a vasectomy:

You will be given local anesthesia as an injection in your scrotum. Your scrotum will be numb but you may still feel pressure or pulling. You may also receive a sedative to help keep you calm. A small puncture or incision will be made. The sperm tube will be cut and a small portion removed. One or both ends will then be closed with stitches, medical clips, or a heat treatment. The same procedure will be done to the other sperm tube. Usually no stitches are needed and the tiny puncture wound will heal by itself. Sometimes medical glue is applied to keep the puncture wound closed.

What to expect after a vasectomy:

Rest for about 30 minutes after the procedure. Ice and an athletic supporter may be applied to decrease discomfort.

Risks of a vasectomy:

Your scrotum may be bruised or inflamed. You may get an infection or a hematoma (buildup of blood). You may develop long-term pain in your scrotum. You may not become sterile if one or both of your cut sperm tubes grow back together. If you do not return as directed to have your semen checked, you may be at risk for pregnancy.

Seek care immediately if:

  • Your incision wound comes apart.
  • You see blood in your urine or semen.

Contact your healthcare provider or surgeon if:

  • You have a fever.
  • Your wound is red, swollen, or draining pus.
  • You feel pain or burning when you urinate.
  • You have worsening pain in your scrotum, even after you take medicine.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

Medicines:

  • NSAIDs help decrease swelling and pain or fever. This medicine is available with or without a doctor's order. NSAIDs can cause stomach bleeding or kidney problems in certain people. If you take blood thinner medicine, always ask your healthcare provider if NSAIDs are safe for you. Always read the medicine label and follow directions.
  • Take your medicine as directed. Contact your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him or her if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.

Self-care:

  • Care for your wound as directed. Do not shower for 24 hours. When you do shower, carefully wash the wound with soap and water. Pat the area dry gently. Do not swim or take a bath for at least 1 week.
  • Limit activity for at least 2 days. Do not play sports, do yard work, or lift anything heavy for at least 2 weeks. Talk to your healthcare provider about when you can return to work.
  • Apply ice on your scrotum for 15 to 20 minutes every hour for 2 days. Use an ice pack, or put crushed ice in a plastic bag. Cover it with a towel. Ice helps prevent tissue damage and decreases swelling and pain.
  • Wear an athletic supporter for at least 2 days. This will decrease pain and swelling, and protect your wound. Place a cushion such as a washcloth or small towel under your scrotum to elevate it.
  • Do not have sex for at least 1 week. You will not be sterile right away after a vasectomy. It will take time for all the sperm to be cleared from your body. You may need to ejaculate about 20 times or wait up to 3 months for the sperm to clear. Use another form of birth control during this time.

Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:

Ask when to return to have your semen checked for sperm. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

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