Greater Boston Urology Blog

What is a Vasectomy Like?

We're coming off March Madness and, as The Washington Post notes, another type of "madness" associated with NCAA tournaments: vasectomy season.

As such, we thought it would make sense to provide a quick primer on vasectomies, including dismantling some popular myths and answering a popular question: What is a vasectomy like?

First, let's tackle the myths. Note: As with all content on Greater Boston Urology's blog, the following information is educational in nature, not medical advice. Always talk to your physician about your specific health care questions and conditions.

[Editor's note: This article was reviewed and updated on 5/18/21 with additional links.]

Myth #1: You'll make less testosterone.

FACT: A vasectomy will not change the amount of testosterone you make. Testosterone is made in the testes, and a vasectomy does not injure or damage them. Therefore, the amount of testosterone will stay the same.

Myth #2: You'll need to say goodbye to ejaculations.

FACT: You will still be able to ejaculate. In fact, sperm comprises only a small amount of ejaculate, so you are unlikely to notice the difference in the amount.

Myth #3: Your erections will change.

FACT: Vasectomy will not change your erections.

What is a vasectomy like?

A vasectomy is a permanent form of sterilization. It is a surgical procedure that is usually done in a urology office by a urologist. During the procedure, your urologist will clamp, cut, or seal the vas deferens from each testicle. (The vas deferens connects the testicles to the urethra; during ejaculation, sperm flows from the testicles through the vas deferens to the urethra.)

A vasectomy takes about 20-30 minutes (about 10 minutes per side). The patient is usually awake, but your doctor will use a local anesthetic so there is no pain.

After the procedure, there is usually some minor swelling and bruising. This typically goes away in a few days. Your urologist will likely advise you to wear tight or supportive underwear to keep the swelling down. He or she will also likely advise you to avoid strenuous activities for a couple of days.

Based on our experience, most men prefer to spend those few days on the couch, which is often the reason why we do so many vasectomies on Fridays (and also probably the reason why the number of vasectomies goes up tremendously during March Madness).

After getting a vasectomy, you are not considered sterile right away since it can take several months before any remaining sperm is ejaculated or reabsorbed by the body. This means you need to use another form of birth control (e.g. condoms).

It takes about 2-3 months and at least 20 ejaculations to clear the sperm. After this time, we'll get a semen analysis to ensure there is no sperm left. Once the semen analysis is clear, you no longer need to worry about impregnating your partner.*

*Very rarely, the two ends of the vas deferens can spontaneously reconnect. But again, this is extremely rare. Vasectomies are 99.85% effective.

vasectomy consultation

Interested in discussing a vasectomy with one of our urologists?

We have Care Centers in MetroWest, the South Shore, and the Cape. Make an appointment with one of our world-class urologists today.


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