Mar 9, 2015 — Doctors recommend staying still in bed or on the couch for two or three days after your vasectomy. In other words, it’s a great time to catch up on your TV shows. Urologist Dr. William Brant shares some tips for a speedy recovery and some other information to know after your vasectomy. He stresses the importance of ice and relaxation, even if you think you feel fine.


Interviewer: What you need to know to successfully recover from a vasectomy. That's next on The Scope.

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Interviewer: You've had your vasectomy and now you're back home. Here's what you need to do for your best recovery. Dr. William Brant is a urologist at University of Utah Health Care, has done a lot of these procedures. So tell me, I want to make sure that I recover as quickly as possible. What do I need to know?

Dr. Brant: Well the first thing that you have to remember is that no guy is infertile right after a vasectomy. After the tubes are cut, there takes some time for the tubes to get cleared out, so to speak, and that takes both time and cleaning the pipes.

Interviewer: Okay, so don't celebrate that way afterwards because you might have a surprise.

Dr. Brant: That's right, not unless you use a little protection.

Interviewer: Okay, good call.

Dr. Brant: One of the nice things about a vasectomy that makes it different than other forms of birth control is, if there's a failure, then that shows up in the semen analysis and you can see there's sperm in there. In every other form of birth control, there's a pregnancy. So we want you to have that semen analysis done at six to eight weeks after you have the procedure to make sure that it's as clear as possible.

Interviewer: All right, I don't think we need to dwell on that. It's obvious why you're doing that.

Dr. Brant: That's right.

Interviewer: Yeah.

Dr. Brant: So there are some things that are important to do right afterwards.

Interviewer: Okay.

Dr. Brant: You got to remember that in the area where we're doing the vasectomy, it's a very stretchy piece. It's pretty low in the body, so any bleeding or swelling is really going to swell things up. So I like guys to lay around like a lump. I had a previous job where I used to give out bells to guys so they could ring them for more chips and soda. We'd see how long they'd get to keep the bell before their wives would crush it.

Interviewer: And how long should you be ringing that bell realistically?

Dr. Brant: Really for a couple of days. Two, three days.

Interviewer: Really? Just nothing.

Dr. Brant: Where you lay on the couch watching TV, that's why this time is so excellent for having the vasectomy. And then, of course, frozen peas are your best buddy during this time.

Interviewer: And so ice it, ice it, ice it. We hear that all of our life. Does that really make a huge difference?

Dr. Brant: Yes, huge. It's so much better than any pain medication. It'll keep down swelling, and if the guy is just laying quietly on the couch using his ice, he'll be very happy. Now, still for a couple of weeks, it's best to pay attention to your body. Guys tend to be stubborn. They tend to be a little impatient. They want to go run a marathon. They want to go play basketball right after they have this done.
That is not a good idea because they're going to have swelling. They're going to have pain. So I like guys to take it relatively easy for a couple of weeks. They can walk, they can eat, they can do pretty normal things. But until they're not having any swelling, they're not having any pain, I don't want them to do full activities.

Interviewer: So the swelling sounds like kind of the major thing you need to control with icing and really overstress just resting for couple of days. Not doing anything and then a couple weeks not being ridiculous. Is there something that happens that guys really get concerned about that generally isn't a huge concern?

Dr. Brant: Yeah, most of our guys have very little swelling, they have very little bruising. But certainly there's no reason to panic if there's a little bit of bruising. There are small blood vessels in that area, they definitely will show up as bruised so you don't need to worry about that. They don't worry about a little bit of discomfort in the area, which you would expect after the vasectomy.
We make sure the guys have pain medication just in case they need it. People are concerned about infection, but infection is unbelievably uncommon after these. So that's not something that really happens. We don't give guys antibiotics and, really, they don't need them at all.

Interviewer: All right. So what about the opposite of that? What's the thing that happens that, "I probably should call my doctor and find out what's going on?"

Dr. Brant: Pain that's getting worse, not better. Swelling that's getting worse, not better. Those are things that really we want to hear about.

Interviewer: Yeah. Anything else I need to keep in mind after I've had the procedure?

Dr. Brant: I go back to this idea of don't get too crazy, because you're not considered infertile till you've had that check.

Interviewer: We're your daily dose of science, conversation, medicine. This is The Scope. University of Utah Health Sciences Radio.