If you’re considering a permanent form of birth control, a vasectomy is one of the most effective ways to prevent an unplanned pregnancy. Our urologists can help you decide if a vasectomy is right for you, and perform the outpatient procedure during a quick visit to one of our clinics in Durham or Raleigh. It’s one of the most common surgical procedures performed in the country and is a safe, easy option for your family planning needs.
Consider This Before Having a Vasectomy
While a vasectomy can be reversed, keep in mind that there’s no guarantee that your sperm may continue to be healthy enough for a pregnancy between procedures. If there’s a chance you may want to have a reversal, doctors recommend not having a vasectomy in the first place. Vasectomies are usually covered by insurance providers, but coverage is typically not the same for reversals.
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The No-Scalpel Vasectomy
A urologist isolates your vas deferens through a tiny puncture hole made in the skin of the scrotum. The tube is lifted out, cut or seared, then tied and put back in place. Your urologist may perform a combination of these options, including clipping the vas deferens, then using a heated instrument to cauterize the tube, and tie the two ends separately. Your doctor may adjust their process slightly depending on your personal needs, surgical history, or unique anatomy.
Our “no-scalpel” procedure minimizes pain and offers a quick return to your normal activities. Duke doctors perform this outpatient procedure in one of our urology clinics. Your urologist uses local anesthesia during the 30-minute procedure.
You can go home immediately after your surgery. Your scrotum may remain numb for up to two hours as the anesthesia wears off. Most of our vasectomies are scheduled on a Friday so you have the weekend to fully recover. You may be sore and notice some mild bruising around the upper scrotum.
Between eight and 16 weeks after your surgery, you’ll provide a semen sample for analysis to make sure no viable sperm are still present in your ejaculate. About 1 in 2,000 men will have their vas deferens naturally reconnect, which can cause an unplanned pregnancy.
Returning to Sexual Activity
You should avoid sex, masturbation, and ejaculation for at least one week. Once you restart sexual activity, the vasectomy should not have an impact on your feeling of orgasm or sexual function. Most men do not notice a change in their volume of semen.
A vasectomy does not protect you against sexually transmitted infections.
What Happens to Your Sperm?
Your testicles will continue to produce sperm after your vasectomy, but none will be able to flow through your vans deferens into the semen. Instead, your sperm are reabsorbed into your epididymis, a duct that connects to your vans deferens and testicles. You may notice some swelling for up to a month after your procedure as your body becomes used to absorbing the cells.
Although there is no set time frame in which the testicles stop producing sperm, the success of a vasectomy reversal diminishes in the years following your surgery.
In addition, Duke University Hospital is proud to be named the best hospital in North Carolina, and nationally ranked in 10 adult and 9 pediatric specialties by U.S. News & World Report for 2019–2020.