Vasectomy is a safe, effective, and permanent method of birth control. It is the most cost-effective form of contraception, costing half as much as a tubal ligation (having a woman’s tubes tied). In the United States, one out of five men over the age of 35 has had a vasectomy. Dr. McDowell trained to perform minimally invasive vasectomy while at the Mayo Clinic. He has extensive experience with the procedure, which can be completed in our office with local anesthesia in approximately 30 minutes. Anyone considering permanent birth control with a high success rate and few complications should strongly consider vasectomy.


During a vasectomy, the vas deferens from each testicle is cauterized, cut, or otherwise sealed, following local anesthesia. This prevents sperm from mixing with the semen that is ejaculated from the penis. An egg cannot be fertilized when there are no sperm in the semen. Because the tubes are blocked before the seminal vesicles and prostate, the amount of fluid ejaculated is unchanged.


  • You should shower the night before and the day of surgery.
  • Shave all hair from the front of your scrotum with a disposable razor.
  • You may eat breakfast on the day of surgery.
  • If the doctor prescribed Valium, you should take this one hour before your scheduled appointment.
  • If taking Valium someone will need to drive you to and from your appointment.


Vasectomy is a relatively simple procedure to perform. Complications are unusual, although possible and include:

  • Bleeding/Hematoma
  • Infection
  • Sperm Granuloma
  • Congestive Epididymitis
  • Chronic Pain
  • Recanalization/Failure


  • Sex Drive-a vasectomy will not interfere with your sex drive, ability to have erections, sensation of orgasm, or ability to ejaculate.
  • Risk of Cancer-many large studies confirm that there is no increased risk of any cancer following vasectomy.


  • You may go home a few minutes after the vasectomy is completed but should have someone available to accompany you and assist with tasks (driving, heavy lifting, etc.). You should have no planned activities.
  • Apply cold packs outside your shorts and lie on your back or in a recliner as much as possible for the rest of the day. Continue for 2 days to apply cold packs 20 minutes twice per day.
  • You may have some swelling and minor pain in your scrotum for several days after the surgery.
  • Wearing snug underwear or a jockstrap will ease discomfort and protect the area.
  • The most important factor in a smooth recovery is rest. Patients may be asked to limit their activities for 3-5 days. Strenuous exercise or lifting should be avoided for a total of 7 days.
  • Patients should not bathe or swim for 24-48 hours after the procedure.
  • No sexual intercourse for 7 days after the procedure.
  • A backup method of birth control should be used until testing is done to confirm that sperm are no longer present in the ejaculate.
  • After the vasectomy, there may be some cramping and discomfort at the incision site. This can be relieved with a pain medication such as acetaminophen (Tylenol). Ibuprofen and aspirin should be avoided for at least one week as these medications may increase the risk of bleeding around the incision. For more severe pain, a stronger pain medication (Celebrex) will be prescribed.


Vasectomy is a very effective (99.85%) birth control method. However, a sperm sample (collected at home) must be checked 6-8 weeks after the procedure to ensure that no sperm remain in the ejaculate. Men need to ejaculate approximately 20 times to clear the ducts of sperm before the 6-week check. If the 6-week check shows no sperm, there is a 0.1% chance that a partner may become pregnant. This failure rate is equal to or better than any other currently available methods of birth control.


A vasectomy is considered a permanent method of birth control. Reversal is unlikely with the procedure performed in our office. A man should not have a vasectomy unless he is sure that he does not want children in the future.

★ Men who are considering a vasectomy should have a consult visit before the day of the procedure. At this visit, the doctor will explain the procedure and answer any questions. You may want to bring your partner with you to this visit. ★