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What's It Like: To get a vasectomy

During a vasectomy, a doctor will cut the tubes that carry sperm from the scrotum to the testicles.
by Jaclyn Cosgrove Published: September 16, 2012

What are the risk factors?

With any surgery, there's a risk of bleeding and infection. There aren't any serious risks to vasectomy.

Rare risk factors include chronic testicular pain, which would last longer than a week, but it's very rare. Another rare risk factor is epididymitis, where the epididymis, or the tube that connects the testicles with the tube that carries sperm out of the testes, becomes inflamed.

Recanalization is also a rare risk factor. It's when the vas deferens, the two tubes that were cut, grow back together. This happens in about one in 1,000 vasectomies.

There is not enough medical research to prove that a vasectomy will affect your sexual performance or permanently damage your sex organs. It's important to ask your doctor about any concerns you have.

What's the recovery time?

The amount of pain you feel after the procedure is partially dependent on how active you are. It's important, if you can, to take a few days off and rest.

Your recovery time and risk factors will also depend somewhat on how closely you follow your doctor's after-care instructions. It's important that you ask any questions you have and listen to your doctor's instructions when having any surgery performed.

Your doctor will likely advise you to wear a scrotal support for three to four days after the procedure. You might experience some swelling and bruising, but that should go away within two weeks. Most men can return to sexual activity within a week of the surgery.

What's the follow-up?

After a vasectomy, you will most likely still have sperm in your semen. A man can store sperm for up to two months, sometimes longer.

Therefore, your doctor will likely ask you to come in for at least one semen analysis. Until you have a semen analysis that shows you are no longer producing sperm, it's important to continue using whatever birth control measures you or your partner are taking.

Sources: Dr. Stan Law, an urologist at Midwest Regional Medical Center; The National Institutes of Health; MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia; The Mayo Clinic; Weill Cornell Medical College, Department of Urology.

by Jaclyn Cosgrove
Medical and Health Reporter
Jaclyn Cosgrove writes about health, public policy and medicine in Oklahoma, among other topics. She is an Oklahoma State University graduate. Jaclyn grew up in the southeast region of the state and enjoys writing about rural Oklahoma. She is...
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