A vasectomy is a surgical procedure that men undergo to prevent the release of sperm for birth control. It involves cutting and blocking the vas deferens, which is a tube that carries sperm from the testicles to the urethra. The procedure is relatively minor and is performed with local anesthetic on an outpatient basis. Once a vasectomy is done, it is one of the most effective forms of birth control today.

What Happens During a Vasectomy

A vasectomy typically takes place in a doctor’s office or an outpatient surgery center, and the procedure takes about 30 minutes. The scrotum is numbed with local anesthetic, and then the doctor pulls out a small portion of the vas deferens through a hole in the scrotum. The vas deferens is cut, the two ends are sealed with clamps, and it is reinserted into the scrotum. The hole in the scrotum is so small that it heals on its own without stitches.

After Vasectomy

Some pain, swelling and bruising in the area is typical after surgery. Men who undergo a vasectomy should take it easy for a few days, wear tight-fitting underwear and use ice packs to soothe the area. Pain relievers also may be needed. A vasectomy isn’t effective right away, and it takes around 20 ejaculations to clear the vas deferens of sperm. For this reason, doctors usually ask for a sperm sample to test a few months after the procedure. Once the sample is free of sperm, the doctor and patient know the procedure was a success.

After the recovery process, a man’s sex life should be exactly like it was before. He will ejaculate in the same manner and amount, and his sex drive shouldn’t change at all.

SOURCES: American Academy of Family Physicians; Urology Care Foundation

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