A vasectomy is considered a permanent method of Reference birth control Opens New Window. A vasectomy prevents the release of sperm when a man ejaculates.
See a picture of the Reference male reproductive system Opens New Window Reference Opens New Window.
During a vasectomy, the Reference vas deferens Opens New Window from each testicle is clamped, cut, or otherwise sealed. This prevents sperm from mixing with the semen that is ejaculated from the penis. An egg cannot be fertilized when there are no sperm in the semen. The testicles continue to produce sperm, but the sperm are reabsorbed by the body. (This also happens to sperm that are not ejaculated after a while, regardless of whether you have had a vasectomy.) Because the tubes are blocked before the seminal vesicles and prostate, you still ejaculate about the same amount of fluid.
It usually takes several months after a vasectomy for all remaining sperm to be ejaculated or reabsorbed. You must use another method of birth control until you have a semen sample tested and it shows a zero sperm count. Otherwise, you can still get your partner pregnant.
During a vasectomy:
- Your testicles and scrotum are cleaned with an antiseptic and possibly shaved.
- You may be given an oral or Reference intravenous (IV) Opens New Window medicine to reduce anxiety and make you sleepy. If you do take this medicine, you may not remember much about the procedure.
- Each vas deferens is located by touch.
- A Reference local anesthetic Opens New Window is injected into the area.
- Your doctor makes one or two small openings in your scrotum. Through an opening, the two vas deferens tubes are cut. The two ends of the vas deferens are tied, stitched, or sealed. Electrocautery may be used to seal the ends with heat. Scar tissue from the surgery helps block the tubes.
- The vas deferens is then replaced inside the scrotum and the skin is closed with stitches that dissolve and do not have to be removed.
The procedure takes about 20 to 30 minutes and can be done in an office or clinic. It may be done by a Reference family medicine doctor Opens New Window, a Reference urologist Opens New Window, or a Reference general surgeon Opens New Window.
No-scalpel vasectomy is a technique that uses a small clamp with pointed ends. Instead of using a scalpel to cut the skin, the clamp is poked through the skin of the scrotum and then opened. The benefits of this procedure include less bleeding, a smaller hole in the skin, and fewer complications. No-scalpel vasectomy is as effective as traditional vasectomy.Reference 1
In the Vasclip implant procedure, the vas deferens is locked closed with a device called a Vasclip. The vas deferens is not cut, sutured, or cauterized (sealed by burning), which possibly reduces the potential for pain and complications. Some studies show that clipping is not as effective as other methods of sealing off the vas deferens.Reference 1
|By:||Reference Healthwise Staff||Last Revised: May 3, 2012|
|Medical Review:||Reference Sarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine
Reference Femi Olatunbosun, MB, FRCSC - Obstetrics and Gynecology