A vasectomy involves a minor procedure typically done in the office to “snip” the vas deferens, the tube that carries semen to the penis for ejaculation. A vasectomy is considered a permanent form of birth control. This is done to prevent the release of sperm when a man ejaculates. Without sperm, a man cannot impregnate a woman. Vasectomy is nearly 100 percent effective for preventing pregnancy, but is not full-proof immediately because the sperm needs to clear from your system. For three months following your procedure, an alternative form of birth control should be used (i.e. condoms, the pill, etc.). A simple test called a semen analysis will show when there are no more sperm in your ejaculate. Very rarely, tubes grow back together in which case pregnancy can occur. This happens in about 1 in every 1,000 cases.
Typically a vasectomy is done in a doctor’s office or an outpatient surgery center. The procedure takes about 30 minutes. You will be awake but given local anesthetic. There are two types of vasectomy procedures – an incision method and a non-incision method.
During the incision method, your doctor will make an incision on each side of the scrotum to reach the vas deferens. Each tube is then blocked, and in most cases part of the tube is removed.
During the non-incision method, one tiny puncture is made in the scrotum to reach both tubes. The tubes are then tied off, cauterized or blocked. This method reduces the chances of bleeding and decreases the risk of infection, bruising or other complications.
Recovery time is different for every man. However, most men only need a day or two of rest to make a full recovery. Strenuous work or exercise should be avoided for about a week following the procedure.
Most men are able to become sexually active about a week after their procedure, sometimes sooner. However, it will take about three months after the procedure for all of the sperm to clear out of your system. A back-up birth control method is necessary to effectively prevent pregnancy.