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Vasectomy Recovery: What to Expect


Vasectomy recovery can be uneventful if before being discharged, the patient reads and fully understands the physician's instructions. Ask for clarification if you have any questions. If you opt for this procedure, you will be wearing a scrotal supporter or jockey shorts for about one week after surgery, except while sleeping. Be sure to bring the designated item with you to your appointment. Most physicians will not allow you not to drive yourself home after surgery. Arrange for transportation and go directly home.

Post-Operative Discomfort

You can expect post-operative discomfort to be relatively mild after a vasectomy. Local anesthesia given during the surgery will begin to wear off about an hour after the procedure. Follow the physician's instructions regarding the appropriate use of oral pain medication once the local anesthetic has worn off. Pain and swelling can be minimized by elevating your legs, staying off your feet and applying ice packs to the scrotal area after surgery.

Basic Care

Ice packs should be applied for 20 minutes, except when sleeping, every hour for the first 48 hours then continued every evening for the first week. The incisions must be kept clean and dry. Clean gauze with antibiotic ointment should be applied to the scrotal incisions for two days after surgery. A slight amount of bleeding is normal but active bleeding is not. Significant swelling at the incision site or within the scrotum is cause to call the physician. A shower is usually allowed after two days. Soaking in a warm bath is allowed once the incision has scabbed and can be soothing and beneficial to healing.

Call the physician if you experience a significant amount of bleeding from the surgical site. If you develop a fever or your scrotum becomes very inflamed or has unusual drainage from the surgical site, call the physician as these are signs of infection.

Take Caution

During the first week after surgery, there should be no sex, ejaculation, extreme exertion or exercise, golf, hockey or hiking. Do not lift anything heavier than 15 pounds, including babies and children. Vasectomies are often scheduled on Thursday or Friday so the patient can recuperate over the weekend; many patients return to their regular work schedule the following Monday or Tuesday.

Most patients wait one to two weeks before resuming sexual activity. It is important to note that the patient will not be considered sterile for several weeks after surgery. it is important to resume ejaculation because it takes 10 to 20 ejaculations for any remaining sperm to be released. Sperm can be found in semen for three to six months after a vasectomy. A semen sample will be examined about four to six weeks or 10 to 12 ejaculations after surgery to determine if sperm are still present.

The semen sample can be collected at home and brought directly to the physician's office for microscopic analysis. This process will be repeated every few weeks until there is no sperm present in the sample. An alternate form of birth control should be used until the physician declares the patient to be sterile. Vasectomy does not protect either sexual partner from sexually transmitted diseases.

If you'd like to locate a vasectomy doctor in your area, or if you'd just like to learn more about what's involved with this procedure, please visit The site has a sizable database of qualified urologists and doctors, as well as a list of FAQs concerning vasectomies and vasectomy reversals.

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