A vasectomy is a form of permanent male contraception in which a surgical procedure is performed to block sperm from reaching the semen. The man still ejaculates semen from the penis and continues to produce sperm after a vasectomy, but the semen has no sperm in it. A vasectomy currently is the only approved method of male contraception, although birth control medications for males are being tested. A vasectomy prevents pregnancy better than any other method of birth control, except abstinence. About 1-2 women out of 1,000 will get pregnant in the year after their partner has a vasectomy.
Recovery from a vasectomy takes about one week. Most men can return to light activity after 72 hours but should avoid strenous activity and sex for one week. Swelling and bruising of the scrotum is normal for several days afterward and can be eased with ice packs, a scrotal support, and over-the-counter medication. Men are provided a prescription for narcotic pain medicine, which they may need for up to 48 hours following the procedure. Three months after surgery, the semen will be tested to ensure that it does not contain sperm. If no sperm are found, the risk of sperm returning to the semen and risk of pregnancy both are less than 1%. A vasectomy does not protect against sexually transmitted illnesses.
UAB Medicine urologists are regional and national leaders in their field and practice in all urologic subspecialties. The UAB urology program is consistently ranked among the top 50 programs of its kind in the country by U.S. News & World Report, and it is one of only a few nationally ranked urology programs in the Southeast. Many of our physicians have been recognized by their peers as being among the top doctors in America, and we are a leader in robotic surgery. We offer minimally invasive vasectomies, in which special instruments are used to perform the procedure through small openings in the scrotum. This approach minimizes pain and swelling after the procedure and shortens recovery time.
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