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What is a vasectomy?

Vasectomy

A vasectomy is a minor surgery for male sterilization, or permanent birth control. In a vasectomy, a urologist cuts and closes off the two vas deferens. The vas deferens are tubes that carry sperm from the testicles to the urethra. The sperm are ejaculated in the semen during intercourse. After a man has a vasectomy, he will still produce sperm, but the sperm do not move out of the testicles.

A vasectomy is considered permanent contraception. A urologist can reverse a vasectomy by reattaching the ends of the vas deferens in a procedure called a reverse vasectomy, but it is more complicated than a vasectomy and not as likely to be successful. 

Types of vasectomy

The types of vasectomy include:

  • Conventional vasectomy involves making one or more small cuts in the scrotum (sac that holds the testicles) to access and cut the vas deferens.

  • No-scalpel vasectomy involves making a small puncture in the scrotum. The urologist then pulls the vas deferens out of the small puncture hole to cut it. 

Medical Reviewers: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS Last Review Date: Aug 24, 2016

© 2016 Healthgrades Operating Company, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Healthgrades Operating Company, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the Healthgrades User Agreement.

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Medical References

  1. Unintended Pregnancy Prevention: Vasectomy. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/reproductivehealth/unintendedpregnancy/vasectomy.htm
  2. Vasectomy. American Urological Association. http://www.urologyhealth.org/urology/index.cfm?article=53
  3. Vasectomy: What to Expect. American Academy of Family Physicians. http://familydoctor.org/online/famdocen/home/men/reproductive/195.html

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