Shore Health Systems

Home > Medical Reference > Encyclopedia (English)

Toggle: English / Spanish

Vasectomy - Overview

Alternative Names

Sterilization surgery – male; No-scalpel vasectomy; NSV

Definition of Vasectomy:

A vasectomy is surgery to cut the vas deferens, the tubes that carry a man' s sperm from his scrotum to his urethra. The urethra is the tube that carries sperm and urine out of the penis. After a vasectomy, sperm cannot move out of the testes. A man who has had a successful vasectomy cannot make a woman pregnant.


Vasectomy

Description:

Vasectomy is usually done in the surgeon's office using local anesthesia. You will be awake but not feel any pain.

  • After your scrotum is shaved and cleaned, your surgeon will give you a shot of numbing medicine into the area.
  • Your surgeon will then make a small surgical cut in the upper part of your scrotum, and tie off and cut apart the vas deferens. Your surgeon will use stitches or a skin glue to close the wound.

You may have a vasectomy without a surgical cut. This is called a no-scalpel vasectomy (NSV).

  • Your surgeon will find the vas deferens by feeling your scrotum and then give you numbing medication.
  • The surgeon will then make a tiny hole in the skin of your scrotum and seal off the vas deferens. The surgeon will usually pull your vas deferens through the tiny hole in order to tie off and cut it apart. You will not need stitches.

Why the Procedure Is Performed:

Vasectomy may be recommended for adult men who are sure they want to prevent future pregnancies. A vasectomy makes a man sterile (unable to get a woman pregnant).

A vasectomy is not recommended as a short-term form of birth control. The procedure to reverse a vasectomy is a much more complicated operation.

Vasectomy may be a good choice for men who:

  • Are in a relationship, and both partners agree they have all the children they want. They do not want to use, or cannot use, other forms of birth control.
  • Are in a relationship, and their partner has health problems that would make pregnancy unsafe for her
  • Are in a relationship, and one or both partners have genetic disorders that they do not want to risk passing on to their children

Vasectomy may not be a good choice for men who:

  • Are in a relationship, and one partner is unsure about their desire to have children in the future
  • Are in a relationship that is unstable, going through a stressful phase, or is very difficult in general
  • Are thinking about having the operation just to please their partner
  • Are counting on fathering children later by storing their sperm or by reversing their vasectomy
  • Are young and still have many life changes ahead
  • Are single when they want to have a vasectomy. This includes men who are divorced, widowed, or separated.
  • Do not want, or have a partner who does not want, to be bothered by having to use other forms of birth control during sexual activity
  • Reviewed last on: 3/22/2010
  • David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc., and Scott Miller, MD, Urologist in private practice in Atlanta, Georgia.

References

Nagler HM, Jung H. Factors predicting successful microsurgical vasectomy reversal. Urol Clin North Am. 2009 Aug;36(3):383-90.

The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
adam.com