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Swelling & bruising after a vasectomy

Many men wonder how long they’ll have swelling and bruising after a vasectomy. While these are perfectly normal parts 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 and/or bruising that concerns you, call your doctor.

Excessive levels of swelling or bruising may indicate a problem, and since it can be hard 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 and/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.

Swelling after vasectomy

Swelling typically occurs shortly after the vasectomy. The duration of post-op 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 complication. 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 surgery site, avoiding activity, wearing tight-fitting underwear or a jock strap, and taking anti-inflammatory drugs.

Prepare for your post-vasectomy swelling by obtaining at least two good quality cold packs (such as this model sold on Amazon). You’ll want at least two so you can have one pack in the freezer and one on the surgery site at all times.

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 man.

Doctors typically advise patients that bruising can last for up to two weeks, although it can go away sooner for many men. Some men report bruising that goes away after just a couple days, while other men may experience bruising that lasts for two weeks or longer.

If you experience bruising that persists beyond a couple weeks or bruising that you feel is excessive, contact your doctor.

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.

Swelling and bruising pictures

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.

Don’t hesitate to contact your doctor

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.

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.


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