V ASECTOM Y
AN INFORMATION LEAFLET
Written by: Department of Urology
Stockport Tel: 0161 419 5698
Tameside Tel: 0161 922 6696/6698
Macclesfield Tel: 01625 661517
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What is a Vasectomy?
A vasectomy is an operation to divide the vas deferens (tubes) that are responsible for carrying the
sperm from your testicles to your penis. It is carried out as a form of contraception, meaning that you
will no longer be able to father children.
The operation takes approximately fifteen to thirty minutes and is usually performed as a day case
(which means that you can have the operation and go home the same day). The procedure is
usually performed under a local anaesthetic (numbing injection), although sometimes a general
anaesthetic is used (when you are completely asleep).
Once the anaesthetic has taken effect, the surgeon will make tiny cuts (about 1cm in both sides of
your scrotum or one cut in the centre of your scrotum). A section of the vas deferens will be carefully
pulled out through the small opening. Each tube will be cut and a small section will be removed.
The ends of the tubes will then be closed off, by either tying them or sealing them off using
diathermy (an instrument that heats to a high temperature). The vas deferens will then be gently
placed back into your scrotum and the cuts will be closed using dissolvable stitches (that do not
need to be removed, as they will go soft and fall out after about a week) or steristrips (adhesive
The sections of the tubes that are removed are usually examined in a laboratory to confirm that
they are each vas deferens.
What Are The Benefits?
Vasectomy is a very reliable form of contraception and you will no longer need to use other
methods of contraception.
Are There Any Risks Involved?
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• Irreversible procedure; a vasectomy should be considered a permanent operation and it
is essential that you and your partner carefully consider that this is what you both
want to do.
• A small amount of scrotal bruising.
• Two semen samples are required to show that there are no live sperm, before you
can have unprotected intercourse.
• Bleeding - causing bruising or occasionally requiring further surgery.
• Inflammation or infection of the testes or epididymis, which may require antibiotics
• One in 2000 chance of rejoining of the vas deferens ends, which results in fertility and
• Chronic testicular pain (5% chance) sperm granuloma (lump).
What Are The Alternatives?
Other forms of contraception, male or female, including;
Oral contraceptive pill
How Long Will I Be In Hospital For?
If the operation is carried out under a local anaesthetic, it is usual that you would go home the same
day as your operation. However, if a general anaesthetic is used, it may be necessary for you to stay
in hospital for one night following the operation.
What Should I Expect Before The Operation?
You will be asked to attend for a pre-operative assessment, to ensure you are fit to undertake the
procedure. You will be asked to sign a consent form before the operation, which confirms that you
understand the risks, benefits and possible alternatives to the procedure and have given your
permission for it to go ahead. You will also have the opportunity to ask any questions you may
have at this time.
Although vasectomy should be considered a permanent form of contraception some men, due to
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different circumstances, come to regret the operation and want to have it reversed. A vasectomy
reversal operation rejoins each of the tubes that carry sperm from the testicles to the penis, which
are cut during the vasectomy. However, this does not guarantee that your fertility will be restored.
What Happens To Me When I Arrive At The Ward?
Your operation will be performed at Stepping Hill Hospital, Stockport.
You will be met by the nursing staff looking after you and an anaesthetist will talk to you about your
On the Day of the Procedure
It would be necessary for you to not have anything to eat or drink for several hours before the
operation. If you would normally take tablets during this time, please ask at the pre-operative
assessment clinic which you should continue to take.
Before you go down to theatre, you will be asked to change into a theatre gown and to remove any
contact lenses, jewellery or dentures.
What Happens After The Procedure?
The Nurse or Doctor will give you advice about caring for your wounds.
You will be advised to wear supportive underwear to help relieve any discomfort from your testicles,
which may be sore for a few days. This discomfort can be relieved by taking pain killers that you
would normally take for a headache.
The dissolvable stitches will disappear after about one week.
You will need to have arranged for a responsible adult to collect you from hospital and transport you
It is important that in the first twenty four hours of having had a general anaesthetic, you should
1. Being left in the house alone, or looking after young children.
2. Driving (it is advisable to check with your insurance company as to how long your
insurance is invalid following general anaesthetic).
3. Operating machinery, this includes cookers and other domestic appliances.
4. Making any important decisions or sign any legal documents.
5. Drinking alcohol.
You will require two semen tests to ensure that your tubes are clear of sperm. The first semen
sample should be taken eight to twelve weeks after the operation followed by a second sample about
two weeks later. You will receive information about these tests either from the ward staff or your
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Consultant’s Secretary via a letter, shortly after your operation.
Day To Day Living
You are advised to take it easy for a couple of days but you will be able to drive and go back to work, as
soon as you feel able.
Avoid heavy lifting or vigorous exercise during the first week after the operation.
You should dry your wound site gently and thoroughly after you bath or shower.
You can have sex as soon as you feel comfortable to do so but it is advised that you use another form of
contraception until the live sperm that remain in the tubes have gone. You will be informed about your
semen test results via a letter from the Consultant’s Secretary and once these tests show that your semen is
clear of sperm, you will no longer need to use other methods of contraception.
A vasectomy will not affect your enjoyment of sex or your sex drive. You will still have erections and
produce the same amount of fluid when you ejaculate. The only difference is that the fluid will not contain
sperm. You will however, still produce sperm, but they cannot travel out through your penis and are
naturally reabsorbed by the body.
A vasectomy does not protect you from getting sexually transmitted infections, therefore it is advised to
always practice safe sex.
If there is a Problem
Please contact your GP, should you have any problems after your operation.
Other Useful Contacts or Information
If you have any questions you want to ask, you can use this space below to make notes to remind
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In compiling this information leaflet, a number of recognised professional bodies have been
used, including the British Association of Urological Surgeons. Accredited good practice
guidelines have been used.
If you have a visual impairment this leaflet can be made available in bigger print
or on audiotape. If you require either of these options please contact the Health
Information Centre on 0161 922 5332
If you would like any further information please telephone the Urology Nurse Specialists at your
local Urology Department on:
Stepping Hill 0161 419 5695
Tameside 0161 922 6696/6698
Macclesfield 01625 661517
Author: Urology Department
Division/Department: Elective Services
Date Created: 1998
Version: Version 1.2
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