Vasectomy - post-operative instructions

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Most men have very little trouble after their vasectomy. We suggest that you:

  • Take things easy for the rest of the day. There is no need to retire to bed, but too much activity delays healing of the wound area and may cause complications.
  • The wearing of supportive underpants (not boxer shorts) is recommended for one week, during the day and also at night.
  • There is usually a little pain for several hours after the operation. This can be relieved by simple pain relief medication that is widely available to buy over the counter from a chemist, for example, paracetamol. Please note that you will not be given any pain relief medication to take home with you, you must buy your own.
  • Do not bath or shower for 48 hours. The wounds may weep a little after a few days. This is not serious and is due to the position of the wounds. This can often be avoided by taking a daily bath or shower until the wound has healed.
  • Avoid sexual intercourse, driving or exercise for at least 48 hours after your operation.
  • Should you experience any problems in the first 4 weeks after your operation, please contact the Integrated Sexual Health Service direct, particularly if you think you have a wound infection (for example, wound is increasingly painful, oozing pus). We will be able to advise accordingly. Please contact your GP if you have any problems after the first 4 weeks.
  • Should a problem occur outside of our opening hours please contact your GP, NHS 111, pharmacy services or in the case of an emergency A&E.
  • If you are treated for a post-operative infection by a service other than ourselves, please contact us in order for us to update your records.

How do I know if the surgery has worked?

You are not sterile immediately after your vasectomy. A semen sample is required at least 12 weeks after your surgery for us to check if the surgery has worked or not.

It is essential that you understand you are not sterile immediately after the operation. This is because some sperms have already passed beyond the site where the tubes are cut. These sperms need to be cleared by normal ejaculation.

Sperm will be present in your semen for some weeks after the operation. You must still use contraception (eg. condoms) during this time. Continued ejaculation is important to flush out all remaining sperm; usually at least 20 ejaculations are necessary to flush out all of the left-over sperm.

It is vital that you provide a semen sample (in the pot provided) at least 12 weeks after your surgery. This is the only way to know whether your vasectomy has been successful.

Sometimes, more sperm samples are required, if this is the case, we will contact you.

It is essential that you continue to use contraception until you have been told that your semen sample shows that the vasectomy has been successful.

How do I collect my semen sample?

At least 12 weeks after your surgery, you must provide a semen sample in the pot provided.

You should have been given a pot and a paper form. You must use the pot provided. If you have not got the semen pot or laboratory forms or they are damaged or lost, please obtain further supplies by telephoning 01709 427777.

  • You should have ejaculated at least 20 times in the weeks after your surgery before doing your semen sample. This is to ensure that all of the old sperm has been flushed away.
  • You should produce your semen sample at least 12 weeks after your vasectomy, and after a minimum of 20 ejaculations.
  • You should not have ejaculated for at least three days before collecting your sample (and no more than seven days).
  • You should produce your sample by masturbation (by hand) into the plastic pot provided. Do not use a condom to collect the sample, and do not use lubricants as they may affect the sample quality.
  • You must collect the whole sample.
  • Screw the lid back on very tightly, to prevent leakage.

How soon do the samples need to reach the hospital?

  • The specimen must be brought to the hospital within one hour of production. Take your sample pot immediately to the Pathology Laboratory, Level A, Rotherham Hospital, Moorgate Road, Rotherham (within 1 hour of semen collection). Make sure that you get your sample to the laboratory reception desk between 9am and 1pm on any weekday (except weekends and Bank Holidays).
  • During the journey, it should be kept warm (at body temperature) in an inside pocket. Excessive heating or chilling will affect the quality of the sample and give inaccurate results.

How will I know the results of my semen sample?

The results will normally go back to the surgeon for review.

They will send you a letter/text informing you of your results directly. You will need to know the results before you can tell whether your vasectomy has been successful in making you sterile.

When can I stop using contraception?

Continue using another method of contraception until you receive confirmation your surgery has been successful. You will be notified by letter/text.

It is your responsibility to provide semen samples as explained, when required. If you do not provide the necessary semen samples, you will not know if the vasectomy has been successful.

Please contact us on telephone 01709 427777 if you have provided a sample but you haven’t heard from us about the result.

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  • Page last reviewed: 20 January 2023
  • Next review due: 20 January 2024