Vasectomy: How to Prepare

In This Article

A vasectomy is a safe and relatively easy way for men to prevent pregnancy. It’s often done in under an hour as an outpatient procedure. Most men are back at work within days of a vasectomy. Find out what you need to know beforehand for the surgery and recovery.

Location

While a vasectomy is a surgical procedure, it does not typically take place in an operating room or hospital. General anesthesia and intravenous sedation is an option your doctor may use, but local anesthesia or oral sedation is usually adequate. The vasectomy can take place in a procedural area of a physician’s office or outpatient medical center.

What to Wear

You will likely be asked to change into a gown for the vasectomy for sterile purposes, but preparation and after-care are key. Before you leave home, your doctor may ask you to:

  • Clip the pubic hair around your scrotum.
  • Shower or bathe on the day of surgery, perhaps using an antimicrobial solution.
  • Wear comfortable clothing that will be easy to change in and out of.

Shaving Pubic Hair Before Vasectomy

Before a vasectomy, you may be asked to clip or shave your pubic hair. This is best done the night before the procedure. Keep the following advice in mind as you prepare.

  • Shave all pubic hair away from the scrotum the night before or the morning of your vasectomy, including all hair up to the top of the penis.
  • Do not use an electric razor on the scrotum. Single-blade disposable razors are ideal.
  • Thoroughly wash the scrotum and groin area after hair removal and before the surgery.

Food and Drink

Unless you are going under general anesthesia, there should be no need to avoid food and drink altogether leading up to your surgery. Your doctor may suggest avoiding heavy meals, eating lightly, or sticking to liquids immediately before your vasectomy.

Medications

As with other surgical procedures, your doctor will ask you to avoid some medications before your surgery. These medications are usually blood thinners and other medications that could increase the risk of bleeding during your vasectomy. Your doctor will ask you to stop these medications roughly seven days before your surgery. They might include:

Prophylactic antibiotics to prevent infection are not usually used before a vasectomy, but your doctor may prescribe them if you are at a high risk of infection.

What to Bring

While a vasectomy is minimally invasive and done as an outpatient procedure, you should still anticipate some discomfort after your procedure. You may be asked to arrange for someone to drive you home and care for you after your vasectomy. Specifically, you should avoid driving after your vasectomy, as it can aggravate the surgical area.

You may also be asked to arrive early to complete any paperwork or consents that you haven't already. Make sure you bring identification and any insurance information you may need to complete this paperwork.

Your doctor will also advise you to bring a clean jockstrap, compression shorts, or other supportive garment to ear after your vasectomy. Comfortable clothing that is easy to put of after surgery is suggested.

Pre-Op Lifestyle Changes

There are a number of lifestyle changes that can benefit you at any time, but particularly before a surgery like a vasectomy. Smoking is one of these changes, and quitting before surgery can greatly improve your recovery after surgery we well as improve your overall health.

You should also make preparations for the days following your surgery. Plan to rest and limit physical activity for the first 24 hours. You may also need to plan one to three days off work after your vasectomy, depending on the type of procedure you had done and your recovery.

A Word From Verywell

A vasectomy is generally a quick outpatient procedure, but your doctor will still ask you to make certain preparations before surgery, as well as a plan for the immediate post-operative period. You should plan to limit your physical activity for at least a few days after your vasectomy

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Article Sources
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  1. American Urological Association. Vasectomy guideline. 2015.

  2. Cleveland Clinic. Vasectomy (male sterilization): Procedure details. 2020.

  3. Johns Hopkins Medicine. Vasectomy. 2020.