A vasectomy is the surgical cutting and sealing of part of each vas deferens as a means of sterilization. The decision to proceed with a vasectomy is a very personal one and it is important that the patient has a clear understanding of what a vasectomy is and is not. The vasectomy itself is a minor surgical procedure designed to interrupt the sperm transportation system between the testicle and the penis. Vasectomies are performed in the urologist’s medical office (depending on the patient’s anxiety level.) The scrotal area will be shaved and washed with an antiseptic solution. A local anesthesia will be injected to numb the area but the patient will be aware of touch, tension and movement during the procedure while eliminating sharp pain. The patient is awake during the procedure. After the vasectomy, the patient should return home for a brief convalescence and avoid strenuous or sexual activity. Most patients can expect to recover completely in less than a week and most can return to their job as early as a day after the vasectomy. Sexual activity can often be resumed within a few days. However, patients should realize that vasectomies are not effective immediately. The effectiveness of the vasectomy must be proven by having the patient submit at least one semen analysis to prove there is no active sperm in the ejaculate. Patients can still use contraception during this period. There is no significant change in one’s ejaculate after a vasectomy since the sperm contributes a small amount to the overall ejaculate volume. Ejaculation and orgasm are generally not affected by vasectomy, and uncomplicated vasectomies cannot cause impotence. These and other concerns can be addressed in the consultation with the urologist.