Vasectomy Information

What is a Vasectomy?

A vasectomy (va-SECK-tuh-me) is a permanent method of birth control for men. It is a minor surgical procedure that blocks the tubes that carry the man’s sperm from the testicles to the penis. This surgery is usually done in a doctor’s office. A small cut (incision) is made in the scrotum. Then the tubes called the vas deferens (VASS DEF-er-enz) are cut and tied. Local anesthesia is used.

How Effective is a Vasectomy?

A vasectomy is about as effective as a tubal ligation. Although in some cases it can be reversed, it should be considered permanent. A vasectomy should have no effect on a man’s sexual desire, erections, ejaculation, or sexual performance.


A vasectomy is easier to perform and carries less risk than a tubal ligation. There is a slight risk of bleeding or infection. There may be some discomfort for a few days after a vasectomy, but it can be controlled with medicine.  

Take Time to Make the Decision

A vasectomy is considered to be a permanent method of birth control. Take some time to carefully consider if this method is right for you.

Use Condoms the Right Way

A vasectomy will help prevent pregnancy, but it won’t protect you against STIs (sexually transmitted infections). To protect against STIs, use condoms the right way.

Except for not having sex (abstinence), latex condoms give the best protection from many STIs, including HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. Condoms are helpful only if used the right way. Use a latex condom every time you have sex. Always put the condom on before the penis touches or enters the vagina. If you or your partner has an allergy to latex, you should use a plastic (polyurethane) condom.

Important steps for using condoms the right way

  1. Open the package carefully.
  2. Hold the condom by the last inch at the tip and squeeze out the air.
  3. If the penis is uncircumcised, pull back the foreskin.
  4. Place the condom on the tip of the penis.
  5. Unroll the condom to the base of the penis. Smooth out any extra air.
  6. If you want or need to use lubricant on the condom, use only water-based lubricants like K-Y Jelly or Surgilube. Do not use oil-based lubricants. They can weaken condoms and cause them to break. Do not use petroleum jelly, cooking or vegetable oil, mineral or baby oil, massage oil, butter or margarine, oil-based creams, or lotions.
  7. Immediately after ejaculation, hold the condom firmly by the rim at the base of the penis. Pull the penis and condom out of the vagina together while the penis is still erect.
  8. Look carefully at the condom to see if there is a hole in the condom. If you are not sure, fill the condom with water to see if it leaks.
  9. Discard the condom. Wrap it in tissue and throw it away. Do not flush it down the toilet.
  10. Never re-use a condom.


UPMC | Affiliated with the University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences | Supplemental content provided by Healthwise, Incorporated. To learn more, visit

For help in finding a doctor or health service that suits your needs, call the UPMC Referral Service at 412-647-UPMC (8762) or 1-800-533-UPMC (8762). Select option 1.

UPMC is an equal opportunity employer. UPMC policy prohibits discrimination or harassment on the basis of race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, age, sex, genetics, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, familial status, disability, veteran status, or any other legally protected group status. Further, UPMC will continue to support and promote equal employment opportunity, human dignity, and racial, ethnic, and cultural diversity. This policy applies to admissions, employment, and access to and treatment in UPMC programs and activities. This commitment is made by UPMC in accordance with federal, state, and/or local laws and regulations.

Medical information made available on is not intended to be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. You should not rely entirely on this information for your health care needs. Ask your own doctor or health care provider any specific medical questions that you have. Further, is not a tool to be used in the case of an emergency. If an emergency arises, you should seek appropriate emergency medical services.

Pittsburgh, PA, USA |