One major pro of a vasectomy is that it’s considered a permanent and very effective (99.85 percent) method of birth control. Dr. Stephen Lukasewycz, who is a urologist with HealthPartners and Regions Hospital answers the frequently asked questions about vasectomies.

What does the procedure involve?

A vasectomy is a very simple office procedure in which the vas deferens (small tubes that transport sperm from the testicle out into the world) are disrupted. During the procedure, a small segment of the vas is removed and then the remainder is “sealed.”

How long does the procedure take?

The procedure takes about 15 to 30 minutes and can be done at a clinic.

Does the procedure hurt?

During the procedure, numbing medication is used to decrease discomfort. Most patients describe a slight ache but no sharp pain. Sometimes we prescribe medications to help you relax prior to the procedure. Of course, in that case, you will not be able to drive yourself to or from your appointment.

What can I expect after surgery?

Immediately after the procedure, most patients are quite comfortable. However, we recommend simply going home and resting. Often patients use an ice pack to decrease pain and swelling immediately after the procedure.

For the first couple of days, doctors recommend resting quietly at home. You can slowly increase your activity over the first week, but don’t engage in intense workouts or heavy lifting for two weeks.

It usually takes several months after a vasectomy for all remaining sperm to be ejaculated or reabsorbed. You must use another method of birth control until you have a semen sample tested and it shows a zero sperm count. Otherwise, you can still get your partner pregnant.

What if I change my mind and want to have more kids?

A vasectomy should be considered a permanent procedure. A vasectomy reversal can be performed but pregnancy is not guaranteed after the reversal. A procedure to reverse a vasectomy is often not covered by insurance.