We’ve all heard the stories of guys sitting around for the day with a bag of frozen peas strategically placed on their groin area. While that conjures an interesting image, what’s the real story? What can you expect after you’ve had a vasectomy?

Vasectomy Procedure

First, the good news is that vasectomy surgery is a short procedure – usually only 20-30 minutes. It is done in your doctor’s office or clinic. A local anesthetic is used and you will be able to return home immediately after the procedure.

For an hour or two following the vasectomy, your scrotum will be numb. Indeed, it is a good idea to apply an ice pack (that bag of frozen peas would work) to the area throughout the rest of the day to reduce swelling. Also, try to lie on your back as much as possible. You can wear a jockstrap or snug underwear to help minimize the discomfort.For a few days, you may have some minor pain and swelling in your scrotum. In fact,your scrotum may look bruised as it is healing. Refrain from sexual activity for a week.

Vasectomy Recovery

You should be able to return to work in 1-2 days. However, no heavy lifting for a week, so plan accordingly if you have a more strenuous job. Typically, you will recover completely in a week.

Most importantly, it usually takes three months or more after vasectomy surgery for all the remaining sperm to be either reabsorbed or ejaculated. That means you must use another method of birth control during this time. You can still get your partner pregnant. After three months or 20 ejaculations, whichever comes first, you will return to your doctor’s office for a follow-up. At that time, you will have a semen analysis to determine if there are still any sperm in the ejaculate. If sperm are still present, then you must continue to use contraception until all of the sperm clear. Twenty per cent of men will need to wait. Another semen analysis is necessary to confirm the absence of sperm.

The risks associated with a vasectomy are very low. Discomfort is usually minimal and responds to over-the-counter pain medication, such as acetaminophen.