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  • Cynthia M. Johnson, MA
Publication Type:




Sperm passes from the testicles to the penis in tubes called the vas deferens. A vasectomy is a procedure that blocks these tubes. This makes a man unable to make a woman pregnant during sex.

Male Reproductive Anatomy.

male reproductive organshttp://services.epnet.com/getimage.aspx?imageiid=73067306si2228.jpgsi2228.jpgNULLjpgsi2228.jpgNULL\\hgfiler01a\intellect\images\si2228.jpgNULL46NULL2008-11-07258396Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

Reasons for Procedure

A vasectomy is done as permanent birth control. This option is for men who are sure they will not want to father a child in the future. There is a surgery to reverse a vasectomy, but it is not always successful. There are also other methods that can be used to extract sperm through surgery, but they are also not always successful.

Possible Complications

Problems are rare, but all procedures have some risk. The doctor will go over some problems that could happen, such as:

  • Excess bleeding
  • Problems from anesthesia, such as wheezing or sore throat
  • Infection
  • Lasting pain in and around the testicles
  • Sperm granuloma—lumps caused by an immune system response to sperm leaking from the reproductive organs
  • Ability to still make a woman pregnant

Things that may raise the risk of problems are:

  • Smoking
  • Excess drinking
  • Prior surgery in that area

What to Expect

Problems to Look Out For

Call the doctor if you are not getting better or you have:

  • Signs of infection, such as fever and chills
  • Redness, swelling, excess bleeding, or discharge from the wounds
  • Pain that you cannot control with medicine
  • Problems passing urine
  • New or worsening symptoms

If you think you have an emergency, call for medical help right away.

Prior to Procedure

The care team may meet with you to talk about:

  • Anesthesia options
  • Any allergies you may have
  • Current medicines, herbs, and supplements that you take and whether you need to stop taking them before the procedure
  • Arranging for a ride to and from the procedure




  • Vasectomy. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/procedure/vasectomy.
  • Vasectomy. National Institute of Child Health and Human Development website. Available at: https://www.nichd.nih.gov/health/topics/vasectomy.
  • Vasectomy. Planned Parenthood website. Available at: https://www.plannedparenthood.org/learn/birth-control/vasectomy.


  • Mark S. Itzkowitz, MD, JD
Last Updated:

This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.