How Long Does a Vasectomy Take?

A vasectomy is a relatively quick procedure that takes only about 30 minutes and doesn't require sedation or general anesthesia. The procedure is performed using a local anesthetic which reduces post-operative recovery time, minimizes any side effects that might occur with a general anesthetic, and reduces the cost of the procedure. In fact, it can be done on an outpatient basis. You may require about an hour of recovery time before being cleared to have a friend or family member drive you home.

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How It Works

A vasectomy is a permanent form of birth control. During a vasectomy, tubes in a portion of the scrotum called the vas deferens are sealed. This prevents the ejaculation of sperm during sex. When sperm are not included in the ejaculate, the likelihood of a pregnancy occurring is less than 1%. While sperm is still produced, they are simply reabsorbed into the body, causing no negative side effects.

There are two types of vasectomies: incision and no-scalpel. For obvious reasons, no-incision vasectomy is usually preferred. In fact, no-scalpel vasectomy is usually less painful, takes less time, and is equally effective.


There are plenty of myths and misconceptions about vasectomy. Here are just a few (and the truth behind them):

Men who have vasectomies do not ejaculate during sex. In fact, a vasectomy has only the tiniest impact on the amount of ejaculate produced during sex.

Vasectomy can lead to impotence. According to some researchers, the reality is actually the opposite: men who have vasectomies have fewer concerns about impregnating their partners and may have a slight increase in testosterone levels. As a result, they are often more sexually active and successful.

After a vasectomy, men are immediately sterile. This is not quite true: after a vasectomy, it can take some time to rid the body of existing fertile sperm. Ejaculate must be tested at least once or twice after a vasectomy to determine sterility.

Just One Option for Long-Term Contraception

Many couples find a vasectomy to be an attractive option because it's less invasive than the available option for women: tubal ligation (in which the woman's fallopian tubes are closed or blocked).

But if you feel uncertain about taking such a decisive move, there are still other types of contraception to consider. Aside from condoms and birth control pills, where the failure rate is typically attributed to user error, there are hormonal implants for women, in addition to intrauterine devices (IUDs), a form of long-acting reversible contraception (LARC) used by women. The benefit in using a LARC is that your partner doesn't have to think about it so much (making it more effective than the pill), but it's not completely permanent (hence the use of the word "reversible"). An IUD can stay in for five to seven years or, if and you and our partner change your mind and decide you want children, her gynecologist can pop it right back out.

Talk to your medical professional to determine which choice is right for you.

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  2. Shattuck D, Perry B, Packer C, Chin Quee D. A Review of 10 Years of Vasectomy Programming and Research in Low-Resource SettingsGlob Health Sci Pract. 2016;4(4):647–660. Published 2016 Dec 28. doi:10.9745/GHSP-D-16-00235

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