After your Vasectomy
Your vasectomy procedure has been performed by an experienced doctor using the following method:
- A local anaesthetic injection was given to numb the area.
- One small incision was made in the scrotum.
- The tubes that carry the sperm (the vas deferens) were located and heat sealed.
- The wound is small and will heal on its own after a week or two. No stitches were used.
The local anaesthetic you were given will wear off in a couple of hours and you might feel a bit sore. If you are uncomfortable, take a painkiller such as ibuprofen or paracetamol. Only take these if you have no history of allergy or there's no other reason why you should not take them.
Cooling the area can also help to reduce pain and any swelling. This can be done by wrapping some ice or a pack of frozen vegetables in a clean tea towel and holding it against the sore area.
Most men find they get some bruising around their testicles and this can spread to the penis and groin area. Anti-inflammatory painkillers such as ibuprofen can be helpful. You might notice that a small pea sized lump develops around the wound.
Don't worry, this is your body's natural reaction to the healing process and needs no special treatment. Take care not to get the wound wet as this may affect healing. The dressing should be kept dry and held in place for at least 48 hours by wearing close-fitting supportive briefs or swimming trunks during the day and at night. This provides more support, can reduce pain, and will be more comfortable.
48 hours after your operation, have a short bath or shower to help remove the dressing. Do not use toiletries such as bath oils or talcum powder as they can irritate the area. Dry the area thoroughly and put on the clean dressing that you were given. You can resume sexual activity as soon as it feels comfortable to do so (which is usually about a week).
Please ensure that you use contraception until we confirm that your vasectomy has been successful.
You must not drive yourself home after your vasectomy because you may feel light-headed and there is a risk that the wound may be irritated or reopen. You will be able to drive the day after your operation if necessary.
Going back to work
You should be fit enough to return to work after a couple of days, unless you have a physically demanding job. If you have a manual occupation that involves heavy lifting for example, we would recommend that you only return to work if you are able to avoid the physical aspect for two weeks. Otherwise only return after two weeks. Please call us for advice if you are unsure about your particular type of work.
Sport & Exercise
- Avoid sports and physical exercise for at least two weeks following the procedure. This includes swimming and golf.
- Heavy physical exercise and contact sports should be avoided for four weeks. Examples include rugby, football, squash, cycling and skiing.
- Be guided by how quickly your wound is healing and how fast any swelling or pain goes away. If you are in doubt please call us for advice.
We recommend that you avoid:
- Short haul flights (up to three hours) for 48 hours after your vasectomy.
- Long haul flights for at least a week after your vasectomy.
Most people find their vasectomy goes smoothly and there are no complications. However, it's a good idea to be aware of possible complications so that you can react quickly. If in doubt, call us on 01 830 0630 (24 hours) for advice.
- Prolonged bruising. This does not usually cause any problems and disappears over time.
- Infection can occur after any kind of surgery. After vasectomy, infection can enter through the cut in the scrotum. This is less likely to happen if the area is kept clean and dry. You could have an infection if your wound becomes very painful, red, swollen and tender and/or you have a raised temperature and feel generally unwell. If this happens, you should contact us straight away or see your GP.
- Occasionally men experience a small amount of bleeding from the wound. This is not often a cause for concern and can usually be stopped by pinching the wound closed with a clean finger and thumb and holding for five minutes. If this does not stop the bleeding then you should contact us straight away or contact your GP.
- Rarely, a small blood vessel can bleed inside the scrotum and cause a blood clot (called a haematoma). These are usually very small but can occasionally be large and lead to severe swelling and discomfort.
It can occur from a few hours to a few days after treatment and may be the result of too much strenuous activity. These blood clots usually calm down on their own. If you experience excessive swelling or bruising and discomfort. Contact us for advice.
- A few men experience aching or pain in the testes. This can occur immediately or some months after the vasectomy. For most men this pain is mild and relieved by painkillers. If the pain persists, you may need follow-up treatment. A very small number of men have been known to experience long term testicular pain following a vasectomy which may require follow-up treatment. Contact us for advice. However, we stress that we have seen very few cases of this kind.
- Very rarely, sperm can leak from the sealed sperm-carrying tubes (vas deferens) and form a small lump in the scrotum. These lumps are not usually painful and can often be treated with anti-inflammatory medicine, such as ibuprofen.
If these lumps become very large they may need to be removed. If you develop a lump please call us for advice.
Testing your semen
- As long as you use contraception, you can resume sexual activity as soon as you feel able.
- To make sure your operation has been successful, we need to test your semen to check that no sperm are present. Before you begin the testing, you need to have had at least 25 ejaculations.
- To do the test, you need to provide two semen samples, one at 16 weeks after you vasectomy, or after 25 ejaculations, and one at 18 weeks or two weeks after the first sample. In some men it takes longer to clear the remaining sperm and if your 2nd sample is not clear, you will need to provide a further two samples at 26 and 28 weeks.
- You should not consider your vasectomy to be successful until we inform you in writing that your semen is free of sperm. You should continue to use another form of contraception until this time.
- When you left the centre you were given two sample kits to be used for sending your semen samples to us. You were also given exact dates to take and send in your samples. Samples sent earlier than the dates given will not be accepted, however samples sent later will be accepted and tested.
- There must be 14 days between your first and second samples. This reduces the possibility of false positive results.
Sample testing instructions
A sample bag will be given to you containing all the necessary items for you to provide us with your semen samples at 16 (or after 25 ejaculations) and 18 weeks (or 2 weeks after your first sample).
Do not ejaculate for a full 48 hours prior to giving your samples.
Your pack contains
2 clear plastic pots
2 transport containers
2 plastic bags
2 laboratory slips
- Ejaculate into the condom provided, then empty all the semen into the sample pot
- Throw the condom away (Do not include it in the pot or the sample will not be tested and then discarded)
- Screw the lid on tightly and complete your full details (If you omit anything the sample will not be tested and then discarded)
- Place the sample into the transport container
- Complete the laboratory slip with your full details
- Put the laboratory slip, and transport container into the plastic bag, then the envelope, making sure it is sealed before posting.
We will contact you after receiving the second semen sample to let you know your results. If you do not hear from us within five working days of sending the second sample, please call us on 01 830 0630.
Two sperm-free samples are needed to confirm a successful outcome i.e. a 'negative' result.