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A vasectomy is a procedure in which the vas deferens tube, which transports sperm from the testicles to the semen, is cut and removed, making a man sterile. The procedure lasts only 30 to 45 minutes and requires one or two small incisions in the scrotum.

Education/General Information

It takes eight to 10 weeks and 12 to 20 ejaculations after the procedure to become permanently sterile. A semen test is required two months after the operation to determine if semen is free of sperm. Though the procedure should result in permanent sterility, in rare cases, the tubes can grow back together and the patient is no longer sterile. Your sex drive should not be negatively affected by a vasectomy. In fact, some couples even find that their sex life improves after the procedure.

Though you sometimes hear about men having a vasectomy reversed in order to father a child, the reversal procedure does not always work. It is important to carefully consider your decision to have a vasectomy before choosing to go through with the procedure.

Surgical Options

The vasectomy procedure lasts only 30 to 45 minutes and requires one or two small incisions in the scrotum. Many men worry about the pain that may be involved with a vasectomy, but pain is minimal. There may be some pain during and following the operation, but ice packs, athletic support and mild medication should help.

In the weeks following the procedure, you can gradually become more active. After one week, you can have sex, but be sure to continue using birth control until you have taken a semen test to check for sperm.

Usually, the procedure does not result in any problems, and when problems do arise, they are minimal. For example, the incision may become infected, causing swelling and bleeding. If infection occurs, you may be prescribed an antibiotic.

A condition known as “congestive epididymitis,” characterized by a painful lump on the scrotum, develops in some men following a vasectomy. This usually goes away on its own and can be relieved with aspirin or Tylenol.

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