Millions of people get a vasectomy every year in the United States. It’s a safe, quick procedure that typically only requires local anesthesia. Vasectomies work as a form of birth control by blocking the vas deferens.
What Happens During a Vasectomy?
Both of the vasectomy procedures described below are quick, outpatient procedures that can be done in your urologist’s office.
During an incision vasectomy, a doctor makes one or two cuts into the skin of your scrotum. Through these cuts, the tubes that carry sperm (vas deferens) are blocked off. Sometimes, a small part of each tube is removed. The tubes may be tied, blocked with surgical clips, or closed with an electrical current (cauterizing). The procedure takes about 20 minutes, then the cut is stitched up.
The doctor makes a tiny puncture (hole) to reach both of your vas deferens tubes. The skin on your scrotum isn’t cut with a scalpel. Your tubes are then tied, cauterized, or blocked. The small puncture heals quickly, doesn’t require stitches, and won’t leave a scar. No-scalpel methods – also called no-cut or no-incision – reduce bleeding and lower the risk for infection, bruising, or other complications.
After the Procedure
You may experience some pain, swelling, and bruising in the area where the surgery was performed. The bruises will lighten slowly and should be gone in about two weeks. By this time, you should feel back to normal again. After your surgery, your doctor will give you instructions to follow that may include:
- Wear a jockstrap or tight-fitting underwear to support your scrotum
- Use an ice bag or frozen bag of peas to help with the pain and swelling
- Get plenty of rest
- Limit yourself to light activity until you heal
For most people, it takes about a week to recover from a vasectomy. Your doctor will prescribe pain medication to make your recovery more comfortable. Most people can go back to work the following day after having the procedure. You’ll also be able to resume most daily activities without any issues, including driving. It’s important to refrain from sex and other strenuous activities for a week, or until the pain reduces.
Risks and Complications
Pain and swelling that lasts about a week are common. Severe complications after a vasectomy are uncommon. Some of the complications of this surgery can include:
- Bleeding or discharge from the surgical site after 48 hours
- Pain or swelling that doesn’t go away or gets worse
- Sperm granuloma, a benign growth in your testicles that’s not harmful
- Blood in your urine
- Nausea or loss of appetite
If you have any of the following symptoms, seek emergency medical attention immediately:
- Inability to urinate
A vasectomy is the most effective birth control available for men. Vasectomy is 99% effective, which means there’s still a very small chance that you could still get your partner pregnant after a vasectomy.
Learn More About Vasectomy Procedures with Baptist Health
Vasectomies are an effective, safe, and quick form of male birth control. To learn more about a vasectomy or to schedule an appointment, contact the Baptist Health Urology department today.