Vasectomy operation day: What to expect? How to prepare?

A vasectomy is an outpatient procedure and is usually performed in a doctor’s office, but can also be performed in a procedural room or operating room. You’ll be awake during the surgery and can return home the same day.

Once your surgery date is scheduled, it is important that you follow all the instructions your doctor has given you. The pre and post-op instructions we discuss below are general guidelines provided to most vasectomy patients. However, they should not be considered as a substitute for the specific instructions your doctor has given you.

Pre-operative preparations

Do I need to shave for a vasectomy?

Most doctors require shaving for improved visibility during the operation. Shaving is also an important guard against infection. Normally, you need to shave your scrotum and up to the base of the penis. Avoid using an electric razor as it can produce a shaving rash, which may predispose to infection, possibly causing doctors to delay the surgery. If you don’t feel comfortable shaving yourself, it’s usually also possible to have it done on the spot before the surgery.

What should I wear on the day?

A jockstrap is highly recommended from the moment you get off the table, and you can usually bring your own from home. Some clinics issue something custom-made or require a special purchase.

Keep in mind; some guys report that wearing a strap for a week or more afterward is very helpful, so you may want extras on hand. Also, on the way to the operation, don’t wear your favorite tight pair of 501’s – wear something loose, for example, sweatpants (jogging bottoms) as they will be much easier to get on, and you will be more comfortable.

Can I have sex before a vasectomy?

You can have sex as often as you like before a vasectomy, and at any time up until the operation. Most men know they can’t have sex or masturbate for a certain period of time after their vasectomy, so they may be tempted to squeeze in a few last-minute lovemaking sessions with their partner before the operation. Thankfully, this is completely fine and will not cause any problems with your procedure. There is no medical reason not to have sex before a vasectomy, however, pregnancy is always a possibility.

It’s important to remember that having sex after a vasectomy is an entirely different subject, so we recommend reading our article on that if you want to learn more.

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The surgery

It’s expected you will spend around 1-3 hours at the clinic. The surgery itself takes about 30 minutes. Once you are in the surgical room, you’ll be asked to undress (Usually not fully, just below the waist) and to lie on your back on the operating table. You may be given medicine to calm your nerves. Some doctors will encourage you to use your phone to listen to music, play games, or watch videos during the surgery to help you feel more relaxed.

  • Your scrotal area will be washed with an antiseptic solution, and an elastic band might be placed around your penis to bring out the surgical site.
  • Your doctor will administer local anesthetic to numb your scrotum, which will block any sharp pain. If you feel any pain during the procedure, let your doctor know so that you could get more anesthesia.
  • The surgeon will make a small incision in the skin, and the vas deferens are lifted through the opening. You may feel some tugging and pulling. The vas deferens are then divided and tied, clipped, or cauterized.
  • Your doctor will decide if you need stitches.

Your vasectomy is then completed. You can relax for a while until you’re ready to leave. Please note that this experience may vary depending on your doctor, procedure, and country.

After the operation

Do you need a ride home after a vasectomy?

The answer is usually “yes,” especially if you have been given any relaxant ahead of time. In any case, you will have had an anesthetic, and this may impair your ability to drive legally. If you don’t have someone to take you home, you can always get a taxi, or ask whether arrangements can be made to wait at the clinic or office till you are ready to leave under your own power. (Under no circumstances should you ride a bicycle!)

Precautions against infection

Ask the doctor how to distinguish within the first few days of the operation between normal swelling and soreness and signs of an infection. And ask for a number to call if signs of infection should develop. Remember that many vasectomies are performed on a Thursday or Friday to minimize absence from work. Therefore if an infection develops, it is likely to be over the weekend. Any infection needs to be treated as soon as possible, so find out what to do and who to contact over the weekend if necessary.

Finally, see if you can’t schedule a visit for a week after the operation so the doctor can confirm that you are healing correctly and that no infection is present (this post-op visit is highly recommended).

How should I take care of myself at home?

It’s important not to over-stretch yourself physically after the procedure. Taking a day or two off is highly recommended, but how much time you need to stay away from work or your usual past-times depends on your work, past-times, and other things particular to your case (including the nature of your surgery, how well it went, etc.). When you can shower also varies. It’s highly recommended to use lots of ice immediately after the surgery, and for the first couple of days. You might want to ask your doctor something for pain relief.

Suggested reading

How soon can I resume sexual activity?

Doctors usually anticipate this question, but not always. They will tell you, of course, that you cannot be certain you are sterile until after semen analysis confirms no sperm are present in your semen. But most of us also want to know how soon we can resume protected intercourse or other forms of sexual activity. Try to get a clear picture of what exactly they are advising you to avoid and for how long. For example, is ejaculation safe, no matter how gentle and careful the technique? The recommendations may vary from surgeon to surgeon, however, a couple of weeks of abstinence is generally a safe bet.

Suggested reading


Taking things easy and giving your body time to heal will lessen your chances of giving yourself an injury that may cause pain in later years. In particular, beware of post-vasectomy euphoria the first hour or two afterward: you may feel great at first, relieved the long-dreaded procedure is behind you. But remember, the anesthesia is still at work – maybe even the relaxant. Take it easy, and for the next several days, don’t do anything that causes you pain. Pain is your body’s self-defense mechanism telling you to stop. Finally, give your partner the chance to pamper you, many women posting on the site say they expect to! Besides, you deserve it!

References and further reading 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.
  1. Pre & Post Vasectomy Instructions. Department of Urology, University of Virginia School of Medicine.
  2. Patient information: Vasectomy. Marie Stopes Australia.
  3. How to Prepare for a Vasectomy | Patient Instructions. Pollock Clinics.

Medically reviewed by

Dr. Aaron Wiegmann, MD

Review date

May 29, 2021

Authored by content team

Last updated

May 29, 2021

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