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How is a vasectomy done?

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A vasectomy is usually performed in the office of urologist, a doctor who specializes in the male urinary tract and reproductive system. In some cases, the urologist may decide to do a vasectomy in an outpatient surgery center or a hospital. This could be because of patient anxiety or because other procedures will be done at the same time.1

There are two ways to perform a vasectomy. In either case, the patient is awake during the procedure, but the urologist uses a local anesthetic to numb the scrotum.

With the conventional method, the doctor makes one or two small cuts in the scrotum to access the vas deferens. A small section of the vas deferens is cut out and then removed. The urologist may cauterize (seal with heat) the ends and then tie the ends with stitches. The doctor will then perform the same procedure on the other testicle, either through the same opening or through a second scrotal incision. For both testicles, when the vas deferens has been tied off, the doctor will use a few stitches or skin "glue" to close the opening(s) in the scrotum.

With the "no-scalpel" method, a small puncture hole is made on one side of the scrotum. The health care provider will find the vas deferens under the skin and pull it through the hole. The vas deferens is then cut and a small section is removed. The ends are either cauterized or tied off and then put back in place. The procedure is then performed on the other testicle. No stitches are needed with this method because the puncture holes are so small.2,3

After a vesctomy, most men go home the same day and fully recover in less than a week. 


  1. American Urological Association Foundation. (2011). Vasectomy. Retrieved May 22, 2012, from http://www.urologyhealth.org/urology/index.cfm?article=53 External Web Site Policy [top]
  2. FamilyDoctor.org. (2010). Vasectomy: What to expect. Retrieved May 22, 2012, from http://familydoctor.org/familydoctor/en/prevention-wellness/sex-birth-control/birth-control/vasectomy-what-to-expect.html External Web Site Policy [top]
  3. MedlinePlus. (2010). Vasectomy. Retrieved May 22, 2012, from http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/002995.htm [top]

Last Updated Date: 07/16/2013
Last Reviewed Date: 06/03/2013
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