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Sperm passes from the testes to the penis in tubes called the vas deferens. A vasectomy is a surgery that blocks these tubes. This makes a man unable to make a woman pregnant.
The surgery is done to make you sterile. This means that you are unable to cause a pregnancy.
A vasectomy is done as permanent birth control. This option is for men who are sure they will not want to father a child in the future. There is a surgery to reverse a vasectomy. However, the reverse is not always successful.
If you are planning to have a vasectomy, your doctor will review a list of possible complications with you, which may include:
Factors that may increase the risk of complications include:
Your doctor may do the following:
Talk to your doctor about your medications. You may be asked to stop taking some medications up to one week before the procedure.
In the days leading up to your procedure:
Local anesthesia will be used. It will numb the area. You may also be given medication to help you relax.
There are three techniques for a vasectomy:
Conventional vasectomies take about 30 minutes. No-scalpel procedures take about 20 minutes.
Anesthesia prevents pain during the procedure. You can expect some soreness for a few days. Take pain medications as directed by your doctor.
When you return home, do the following to help ensure a smooth recovery:
A vasectomy may not make you sterile right away. Tests will be done to look for any sperm in the semen. The tests may be done at your doctor's office or with a home test kit. These tests are done to make sure that the procedure was effective.
After arriving home, contact your doctor if any of the following occurs:
In case of an emergency, call for emergency medical services right away.
American Society for Reproductive Medicine
Urology Care Foundation
Men's Health Centre
U.Va. researcher's sperm-check home test receives FDA OK. University of Virginia website. Available at:
http://news.virginia.edu/node/4397?id=4397. Published March 5, 2008. Accessed October 27, 2014.
National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. National Institute of Child Health and Human Development website. Available at:
http://www.nichd.nih.gov/health/topics/vasectomy/Pages/default.aspx. Updated July 16, 2013. Accessed October 27, 2014.
Planned Parenthood website. Available at:
http://www.plannedparenthood.org/health-topics/birth-control/vasectomy-4249.htm. Accessed October 27, 2014.
6/3/2011 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance
http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed: Mills E, Eyawo O, Lockhart I, Kelly S, Wu P, Ebbert JO. Smoking cessation reduces postoperative complications: a systematic review and meta-analysis.
Am J Med.
10/26/2012 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance
http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed: Sharlip I, Belker A, Stanton H, Labrecque M, Marmar J, Ross L, Sandlow J, Sokal D. American Urological Association Vasectomy Guideline.
Last reviewed December 2014 by Adrienne Carmack, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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