What you can expect

By Mayo Clinic Staff

Multimedia

A vasectomy is usually done at a doctor's office or surgery center under local anesthesia, which means you'll be awake and have medicine to numb the surgery area.

During surgery

Vasectomy surgery usually takes about 15 to 20 minutes. To perform a vasectomy, your doctor will likely follow these steps:

  • Numb the surgery area by injecting a local anesthetic into the skin of your scrotum with a small needle.
  • Make a small cut (incision) in the upper part of your scrotum once the surgery area is numb. Or with the "no-scalpel" technique, make a small puncture in the scrotum instead of an incision.
  • Locate the tube that carries semen from your testicle (vas deferens).
  • Withdraw part of the vas deferens through the incision or puncture.
  • Cut the vas deferens where it has been pulled out of the scrotum.
  • Seal the vas deferens by tying it, using heat (cauterizing) or surgical clips. Then your doctor will return the ends of the vas deferens to the scrotum.
  • Stitch up the incision at the surgery area. Stiches aren't necessary if your doctor has used the no-scalpel technique.

After surgery

Following a vasectomy, you'll have some bruising, swelling and pain. It usually gets better within a few days. Your doctor will give you instructions for recovery. Your doctor may tell you to:

  • Call right away if you have signs of infection, such as blood oozing from the surgery site; a temperature of more than 100.4 F (38 C), or worsening pain or swelling.
  • Support your scrotum with a bandage and tightfitting underwear for at least 48 hours after your vasectomy.
  • Apply ice packs to the scrotum for the first two days.
  • Limit activity after surgery. You'll need to rest for 24 hours after surgery. You can probably do light activity after two or three days, but you'll need to avoid sports, lifting and heavy work for a week or so. Overdoing it could cause pain or bleeding inside the scrotum.
  • Refrain from bathing or swimming for at least 24 hours after surgery.

Avoid any sexual activity for a week or so. If you do ejaculate, you may feel pain or notice blood in your semen. If you have sexual intercourse, use another form of birth control until your doctor confirms that sperm are no longer present in your semen.

Feb. 09, 2013