What does the procedure involve?
There are two types of vasectomy procedures, the conventional vasectomy and the no-scalpel vasectomy.
The doctor will numb the scrotum with local anaesthetic. They then use a scalpel to make two small cuts in the skin on each side of the scrotum to reach the vas deferens (the tubes that carry sperm out of the testicles). A small section of each tube is cut, and then closed, either by being tied or sealed with heat. The cuts in the skin will then be closed with dissolvable stitches which will dissolve in a few weeks.
As the name suggests, this type of vasectomy doesn’t involve a scalpel. Instead, the doctor will first numb the scrotum with local anaesthetic and then make a tiny puncture hole in the skin of the scrotum to be able to reach the tubes. This means they don’t need to cut the skin with a scalpel. The tubes are then closed in the same way as a conventional vasectomy. This type of vasectomy is thought to be less painful, and less likely to cause surgical complications.
The vasectomy operation usually takes around 15-30 minutes to perform. In most cases, you'll be able to return home the same day.
It's common to have some mild discomfort, swelling and bruising of your scrotum for a few days after having a vasectomy. Over the counter painkillers can be used to help this.
A vasectomy is available free of charge on the NHS, but the waiting lists can be long - several months -depending on where you live. Your GP or local contraception clinic can provide more information. As waiting lists for vasectomies can be long, some people choose to pay to have the procedure carried out privately.
PP-UN-WHC-GB-0086 September 2023