A vasectomy is a simple, safe, and effective procedure. Deciding to have a vasectomy, or a vasectomy reversal, is an important decision for your family.
A vasectomy is a surgical procedure that is 99.5% effective. The procedure is simple and can be carried out as an outpatient, with very minimal side effects and a very low risk of complications.
A vasectomy is a minimally invasive procedure that involves cutting or sealing the tubes that carry sperm. This blocks the sperm from entering the semen and prevents pregnancy.
Called a percutaneous no-scalpel procedure, your doctor will first numb the area with an injection of local anesthetic. An instrument is then used to make two small incisions in the testicles which allow the doctor to reach the vas deferens, the tubes which carry the sperm. These tubes are then cut, cauterized, and ligated. These clips will remain in place permanently but usually cannot be felt under the skin. The whole procedure takes less than 15 minutes.
No stitches are required, so there is minimal bleeding, and for most people the procedure is painless. You will be able to go home immediately afterwards.
It is very rare for a vasectomy to have any side effects or complications. The procedure does not affect the production or release of testosterone in any way. You may notice blood in your semen, but this is normal and will stop soon afterwards.
Immediately after the procedure your scrotum may become swollen or sensitive, but this usually passes within a few days. Your doctor may advise taking mild pain killers to help.
A vasectomy reversal is possible, but the effectiveness of the reversal depends on how much time has passed since the procedure took place. If a reversal is carried out within a few years of having a vasectomy, it has a much higher chance of success.
A vasectomy reversal involves restoring the flow of sperm through the vas deferens. The procedure is done in a similar way to a vasectomy but is slightly more complex. It is performed using microsurgery, in which a surgeon uses a powerful surgical microscope to magnify the vas deferens and reattach them in one of two ways. A vasovasostomy may be performed, which involves the surgeon sewing back together
the severed ends of each tube, or a vasoepididymostomy, which involves attaching the tubes directly to the epididymis, the small organ in the testicle that holds sperm. Which procedure is performed will depend on the presence of
sperm in the tubes and will be decided during the surgery.
If you decide to have a vasectomy or a vasectomy reversal, you will be asked to do the following before the procedure:
Most men recover and can go back to work within a couple of days. Avoid any sport or heavy lifting for at least a week to minimize the risk of any complications.
Sexual activity can resume a week after a vasectomy and your doctor will schedule a follow-up 8 weeks after the procedure to check your sperm count.
If any symptoms persist for more than 12 hours after your procedure, or you experience high levels of pain, large swelling in the scrotum, continued bleeding, or you have a fever, always call your doctor immediately.
Your doctor will ask you to return for a check-up at 8 weeks and will perform a semen analysis. If the result is negative, then the procedure was a success. It is very rare for the procedure to not be successful.
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This information is provided by the Cleveland Clinic and is not intended to replace the medical advice of your doctor or healthcare provider. Please consult your healthcare provider for advice about a specific medical condition.
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