A vasectomy is surgery performed to prevent sperm release during ejaculation. It can prevent pregnancy because an egg cannot be fertilized without sperm.

During a vasectomy, a tube in each testicle, called vas deferens, is clamped, sealed or cut to block sperm from mixing with semen ejaculated from the penis. After a vasectomy, the testicles still produce sperm, but the body absorbs them.

Vasectomies usually are performed in your urologist's office. During a vasectomy, local anesthesia is injected to numb each vas deferens. Your doctor will make small openings in the scrotum through which the two vas deferens tubes are cut. The doctor then will tie or seal the ends of the vas deferens and stitch the skin closed.

Men typically heal in less than a week. Many return to work the day after the procedure.

Sex often can be resumed within a week after a vasectomy. However, a vasectomy doesn't immediately work. After the procedure, new sperm doesn’t mix with semen, but lots of existing sperm still is available. Your urologist will perform a semen analysis to look for sperm in your ejaculate. Meanwhile, you should use other birth control as you wait to for your ejaculate to be sperm-free.

Urologists usually suggest waiting at least three months or 20 ejaculates to check semen. At that time, many men still have sperm in their ejaculate and will have to wait longer for sperm to clear.

Vasectomy Reversal
Vasectomy is surgery performed to prevent sperm from reaching semen ejaculated from the penis. Semen still exists, but there is no sperm in it. After a vasectomy, the testes (testicles) still produce sperm, which the body absorbs. A vasectomy can prevent pregnancy.

Reasons for vasectomy reversal include remarriage or change of heart.

Vasectomy reversal reconnects the sperm’s pathways to the semen by reattaching the ends of the vas deferens, the tubes found in each testicle. The ends of the vas deferens sometimes are joined to the epididymis, a coiled duct where sperm passes to the vas deferens. Sperm again will flow through the urethra after each vas deferens is reconnected.

During surgery, your urologist will use a high-powered microscope to magnify the vas deferens as much as 40 times its size. The doctor will use stitches thinner than a hair to join the ends of the vas deferens.

Your urologist will make a small cut on each side of the scrotum while you’re under anesthesia. The doctor then will trim the scarred ends of the vas deferens where they were closed by the vasectomy. Your urologist will take vasal fluid from the vasal end closest to the testis. Finally, your doctor will check whether the fluid has sperm in it.

Two types of reversal procedures can be performed, depending on what’s found in the fluid:
  • Vasovasostomy — sperm in the vasal fluid indicates a clear path between the testis and where the vas deferens was cut. The ends of the vas deferens can be rejoined
  • Vasoepididymostomy — if the vasal fluid doesn't have sperm in it, back pressure from your vasectomy may have created and obstruction in the epididymal tube. Your urologist will work around the blockage and join the upper end of the vas deferens to the epididymis

After surgery, most men return to normal routines and light work within a week. Your doctor may recommend not having sex for as many as three weeks.

Besides pregnancy, sperm count testing is the only way to determine whether surgery is successful. Your urologist may test your semen every few months until your sperm count holds steady or your partner gets pregnant. Sperm usually appear in the semen within months after a vasovasostomy. It may take more than a year for sperm to reappear after a vasoepididymostomy.


Our physicians at Houston Methodist specialize in performing vasectomies at the following convenient locations.