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What to Expect from a Vasectomy

Prior to the Procedure

  • You may be asked to stop taking aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), naproxen (Aleve, Naprosyn), clopidogrel (Plavix), warfarin (Coumadin), and other blood thinners.
  • Ask your doctor which drugs you should take on the day of the procedure.
  • Discuss any possible bleeding disorders or other medical conditions that you may have.
  • Let your doctor know if you have a cold, flu, fever, herpes breakout or other illness prior to surgery. This may require that your reschedule your procedure.
  • Pack a pair of tight-fitting underwear or an athletic supporter to put on after the vasectomy. Also, wear comfortable slacks or sweat pants for your comfort following surgery.

On the Day of the Procedure

  • You will usually be asked not to drink or eat anything for a few hours prior to the procedure.
  • Be sure to wash your genital region prior to coming to the office.
  • Take any medications advised by your doctor.
  • Your doctor or nurse will tell you when to arrive at the office.

After the Procedure

You will most likely be able to go home within a couple of hours of the procedure. You will not be allowed to drive yourself home, so bring a driver.

Your scrotum will be numb from the local anesthetic that was injected into the region. Once this wears off, you may have some minor pain, bruising and swelling. Your doctor can prescribe pain medication and will advise you to apply a cold pack to minimize the swelling.

Recovery: what to expect in the next few weeks

Most men are fully recovered within a week. Try to rest for the first few days and limit any heavy lifting or strenuous exercise for the next five to seven days. Your doctor may ask that you not bathe for up to 48 hours. Make sure to wear a jockstrap, secure bandage or tight-fitting underwear for the next two days to keep your testicles from moving.

Vasectomy Q&A

What does the procedure involve?

You will receive an injection to numb your pelvic area. The urologist will make a tiny incision in the scrotum to reach the tubes (vas deferens) that carry sperm from the testicles. Two instruments designed specifically for vasectomy are used to perform this delicate procedure.

One cuts a small section of each tube, and the other is used to clamp the tube and permanently seal it. By using these instruments, your surgeon can make a smaller cut and handle the tissue carefully. The procedure takes about 10 to 15 minutes.

How many incisions are made?

One or two incisions are made in the scrotum.

How long do I stay in the physician’s office?

You will be able to go home within a couple of hours of the procedure.

What is the recovery time?

You will need to stay off your feet for the first few days and follow your physician’s advice on when you can return to work or school. Most patients take a week off to recover. If you have a physically demanding job that requires a lot of lifting, you may have to refrain from returning to work for a while or be reassigned to light duty. You may have some slight swelling and pain for up to two weeks, but this is normal.

Does a vasectomy work immediately?

No, even though the vas deferens have been cut and sealed, a small amount of sperm will still be in the tubes. Check with your doctor, but most recommend using an alternative form of birth control for up to three months or more.