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Vasectomy is a procedure in which the vas deferens is cut and then tied or burned (cauterized). The vas deferens is a tube that carries sperm from the testicle to the part of the body that drains urine from the bladder (urethra). This procedure blocks sperm from going through the vas deferens and penis during ejaculation. This ensures that sperm does not go into the vagina during sex. Vasectomy does not affect sexual desire or performance and does not prevent sexually transmitted infections.

Vasectomy is considered a permanent and very effective form of birth control (contraception). The decision to have a vasectomy should not be made during a stressful time, such as after the loss of a pregnancy or a divorce. You and your partner should decide on whether to have a vasectomy when you are sure that you do not want children in the future.

Tell a health care provider about:

  • Any allergies you have.
  • All medicines you are taking, including vitamins, herbs, eye drops, creams, and over-the-counter medicines.
  • Any problems you or family members have had with anesthetic medicines.
  • Any blood disorders you have.
  • Any surgeries you have had.
  • Any medical conditions you have.

What are the risks?

Generally, this is a safe procedure. However, problems may occur, including:
  • Infection.
  • Bleeding and swelling of the scrotum. The scrotum is the sac that contains the testicles, blood vessels, and structures that help deliver sperm and semen.
  • Allergic reactions to medicines.
  • Failure of the procedure to prevent pregnancy. There is a very small chance that the tied or cauterized ends of the vas deferens may reconnect (recanalization). If this happens, you could still make a woman pregnant.
  • Pain in the scrotum that continues after you heal from the procedure.

What happens before the procedure?


  • Ask your health care provider about:
    • Changing or stopping your regular medicines. This is especially important if you are taking diabetes medicines or blood thinners.
    • Taking medicines such as aspirin and ibuprofen. These medicines can thin your blood. Do not take these medicines unless your health care provider tells you to take them.
    • Taking over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, herbs, and supplements.
  • You may be told to take a medicine to help you relax (sedative) a few hours before the procedure.

General instructions

  • Do not use any products that contain nicotine or tobacco for at least 4 weeks before the procedure. These products include cigarettes, e-cigarettes, and chewing tobacco. If you need help quitting, ask your health care provider.
  • Plan to have a responsible adult take you home from the hospital or clinic.
  • If you will be going home right after the procedure, plan to have a responsible adult care for you for the time you are told. This is important.
  • Ask your health care provider:
    • How your surgery site will be marked.
    • What steps will be taken to help prevent infection. These steps may include:
      • Removing hair at the surgery site.
      • Washing skin with a germ-killing soap.
      • Taking antibiotic medicine.

What happens during the procedure?

  • You will be given one or more of the following:
    • A sedative, unless you were told to take this a few hours before the procedure.
    • A medicine to numb the area (local anesthetic).
  • Your health care provider will feel, or palpate, for your vas deferens.
  • To reach the vas deferens, one of two methods may be used:
    • A very small incision may be made in your scrotum.
    • A punctured opening may be made in your scrotum, without an incision.
  • Your vas deferens will be pulled out of your scrotum and cut. Then, the vas deferens will be closed in one of two ways:
    • Tied at the ends.
    • Cauterized at the ends to seal them off.
  • The vas deferens will be put back into your scrotum.
  • The incision or puncture opening will be closed with absorbable stitches (sutures). The sutures will eventually dissolve and will not need to be removed after the procedure.
  • The procedure will be repeated on the other side of your scrotum.

The procedure may vary among health care providers and hospitals.

What happens after the procedure?

  • You will be monitored to make sure that you do not have problems.
  • You will be asked not to ejaculate for at least 1 week after the procedure, or for as long as you are told.
  • You will need to use a different form of contraception for 2–4 months after the procedure, until you have test results confirming that there are no sperm in your semen.
  • You may be given scrotal support to wear, such as a jockstrap or underwear with a supportive pouch.
  • If you were given a sedative during the procedure, it can affect you for several hours. Do not drive or operate machinery until your health care provider says that it is safe.


  • Vasectomy blocks sperm from being released during ejaculation. This procedure is considered a permanent and very effective form of birth control.
  • Your scrotum will be numbed with medicine (local anesthetic) for the procedure.
  • After the procedure, you will be asked not to ejaculate for at least 1 week, or for as long as you are told. You will also need to use a different form of contraception until your test results confirm that there are no sperm in your semen.

This information is not intended to replace advice given to you by your health care provider. Make sure you discuss any questions you have with your health care provider.