Many men wonder how long they’ll have swelling and bruising after a vasectomy. While these are perfectly normal effects of the procedure, their duration and severity vary greatly from patient to patient. Like many vasectomy-related questions, there isn’t a universal set of guidelines that will apply to every man.
We discuss what’s normal below, but as a general rule, if you experience a level of swelling or bruising that concerns you, consult your doctor immediately. Excessive levels of swelling or bruising may indicate a problem. Since it can be challenging for the layperson to judge what qualifies as “excessive,” it’s always better to err on the side of caution and seek medical attention.
It’s also important to bear in mind that just because you may be experiencing a level of swelling or bruising that is greater than expected doesn’t necessarily mean something has gone wrong. All men will recover from their vasectomy at different rates, so it’s best not to jump to conclusions. Swelling and bruising are often discussed together, but they are two unique processes that work on different time frames. In the following two sections, we’ll look at them more closely.Suggested reading
Swelling after vasectomy
Swelling typically occurs shortly after the vasectomy. The duration of postoperative swelling will vary, but in most cases, it will subside in a matter of days. The level of post-vasectomy swelling a man will experience depends on a wide range of variables, so it’s impossible to define what’s “normal” and what isn’t.
Excessive or prolonged swelling may be an indication of a problem. Similarly, swelling that goes away but returns at a later time could be a sign of infection, hematoma, or other complications. If you feel that any of these scenarios apply to you, give your doctor a call.
Swelling can be reduced by following your doctor’s aftercare instructions carefully. This will usually include icing the surgical site, avoiding excessive physical activity, wearing tight-fitting underwear or a jockstrap, and taking anti-inflammatory drugs. Prepare for your post-vasectomy swelling by obtaining at least two good-quality cold packs. You’ll want at least two, so you can have one pack in the freezer and one on the surgical site at all times.
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- JockstrapsPapi Men’s Cotton Jock Strap 3-Pack
- Ice packsTheraPearl Ice Pack with Gel Beads
- Home Vasectomy TestSpermCheck Vasectomy Test Kit
- Donut-shaped pillowErgonomic Innovations Orthopaedic Seat
Bruising after vasectomy
Most men will develop some bruising after their procedure. The bruising can take several days to appear, but this will vary depending on the person. Doctors typically advise patients that bruising can last for up to two weeks, although it may go away sooner for many men. Some men report bruising that goes away after just a couple of days, while other men may experience bruising that lasts for two weeks or longer.
The level of bruising can vary depending on the vasectomy technique employed by the doctor. The no-scalpel method tends to result in lower levels of bruising, while the traditional scalpel technique may produce greater levels of bruising due to the extra trauma created by the incisions.1Cook L, Pun A, Gallo M, Lopez L, Van V. Scalpel versus no-scalpel incision for vasectomy. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2014;(3):CD004112. doi:10.1002/14651858.CD004112.pub4
If you experience bruising that persists beyond a couple of weeks or bruising that you feel is excessive, contact your doctor.
If you’re up to it, our pictures section has a wide range of photographs showing post-vasectomy bruising and swelling at various stages of recovery.Suggested reading
When dealing with medical issues, some men have a tendency to try to “tough it out” or don’t want to bother their doctor unless they feel like it’s an absolute emergency. This is a dangerous attitude and can result in missing the signs of a complication early on. The period immediately following a vasectomy is when you’re most likely to develop a problem, so you need to be on high alert.Suggested reading
Remember that your doctor’s job is to take care of his or her patients, so don’t hesitate to get in touch if you’re even a little concerned.
References and further readingVasectomy-Information.com has a strict sourcing policy. We rely on evidence-based medicine, peer-reviewed studies, reputable clinical journals, and medical associations. Learn more about how we ensure our content is accurate and up-to-date by reading our editorial policy.
- Cook L, Pun A, Gallo M, Lopez L, Van V. Scalpel versus no-scalpel incision for vasectomy. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2014;(3):CD004112. doi:10.1002/14651858.CD004112.pub4
- Vasectomy. Harvard Health Publishing, Harvard Medical School. Published April 2019. https://www.health.harvard.edu/medical-tests-and-procedures/vasectomy-a-to-z
- What You Should Know About Vasectomy Side Effects. Everyday Health. Published November 14, 2017. https://www.everydayhealth.com/mens-health/what-you-should-know-about-vasectomy-side-effects/