Vasectomy is a common surgical procedure for men looking for permanent birth control. With this procedure, a portion of the duct that carries sperm is removed. Every year more than one- half million men in the United States have this minor surgery.
Vasectomies are 99 percent effective in preventing pregnancy, and can be an appropriate birth control option for those who do not wish to have children in the future. Puyallup Surgical Consultants routinely performs vasectomies as a brief outpatient procedure, and most men find the recovery process very quick and relatively painless.
Preparation for a Vasectomy
In preparing for a vasectomy we recommend patients stop taking all aspirin or blood-thinning products one week prior to your vasectomy. Men should make arrangements to rest, and be off from work for two or three days after the procedure.
On the day of the vasectomy, carefully shave all of the hair from the scrotum and wash it thoroughly. We also recommended wearing or bringing close-fitting underwear that will support the scrotum. It is also advised that you have someone drive you home from the procedure, as the driving position can place unwanted stress on the treated area immediately following the procedure.
Vasectomy Recovery Process
Although a vasectomy is a safe and effective procedure, it naturally generates many questions about recovery. Some side effects can occur when aftercare instructions are not followed, but the typical vasectomy is a simple procedure with little risk and a reasonably fast and easy recovery.
Most men can return to work in two to three days, and resume regular physical activity in about a week.
Here are some tips for a speedy vasectomy recovery:
- Wear close-fitting underwear for 2-3 days to hold the bandages in place.
- Place an icepack on your scrotum to minimize swelling during the first 24 hours (30 minutes on/30 minutes off).
- Take pain medication as needed.
- You may take showers beginning the day after the procedure, but avoid soaking the scrotum in baths, swimming pools or hot tubs until the sutures completely dissolve (usually 10 days).
- Limit activity for the first 48 hours following the procedure, avoid any heavy lifting, pushing or straining.
What to Expect After a Vasectomy
- You can expect some bruising and redness at the site of the incision.
- The sutures in your incision will dissolve and fall out within five to ten days.
- There may be some yellow or white discharge from the incision as the sutures dissolve, this is normal.
- You may notice a small open gap at the site of the incision after the sutures fall out, this is normal, and will close up over time.
- You may notice some firmness in and around the incision site, it will soften, flatten, and return to normal within a few weeks.
The Follow-Up Semen Test
A vasectomy does not make you immediately infertile, it takes six to eight weeks (30-40 ejaculations) for all the sperm to leave your body. Instructions will be provided the day of your procedure for follow up semen testing. It is critical that you use another form of birth control until a semen test indicates no sperm.