Close to 500,000 men each year in the United States opt for a more permanent form of birth control called the vasectomy. This surgical procedure is the preferred method as it is safe, does not affect the sex drive and it is virtually 100% effective.
A urologist is a type of doctor that takes care of a man’s reproductive system and is usually the one who performs the vasectomy. There are several techniques the doctor may use depending on the circumstances, success rate of a procedure and even a preference of one over the other. The one technique that is gaining ground in vasectomies is the NSV method or no-scalpel vasectomy although the traditional way is just as effective.
Regardless of the type of procedure used, a local anesthetic is needed to numb the area. Typically, a needle is used to administer the numbing agent. However, these days, there is a no-needle procedure which uses a jet injection technique instead. This is great news for those men with a bit of apprehension about a long needle being poked into their nether regions. This jet injection spray uses pressure to “shoot” the anesthetic through the localized area.
Most doctors use a traditional procedure to perform the vasectomy. Typically done under an outpatient basis or even in the doctor’s office, the anesthetic is applied to the scrotum area to numb it. Then using a scalpel, the doctor makes two tiny incisions one at each testicle. This incision is made to expose the tubes of the vas deferens which are what carry the sperm to the semen. The doctor lifts the tube out gently and then cut with the end tied. Sometimes, cauterization is used as well.
The doctor then places the vas deferens tube back into the sac of the scrotum and repeats the procedure on the second one. Typically, only three to four stitches are needed to close each incision. The entire vasectomy typically only takes around thirty minutes.
There is a no-scalpel method for the vasectomy procedure as well although not many doctors are specialized in it yet. While there are no scalpels used, an opening in the scrotal area is still necessary in order to cut the vas deferens. In the no-scalpel method, the doctor locates the tubes under the skin and uses a clamp to keep them immobile.
Next, forceps with small points are used to move aside layers of skin tissue and then creates a tiny hole in the skin in which the vas deferens can be pulled out and cut before putting it back into place. Sometimes, the doctor may use a suture or two for this opening and other times may just apply a bandage which holds the skin together so it can close up on its own.
There is the laser vasectomy and the clip vasectomy to consider as well. These procedures are less popular because the prep work and anesthetic work virtually the same as traditional and no-scalpel methods. Indeed, they also require a skin opening to expose the vas deferens. Clips are used to clip off the tubes while lasers are used to cut them. The recovery time is the same and both would require sutures. Plus, there is no evidence that they are any more effective than the other methods.
It is important for men who are considering a vasectomy to talk closely with their doctors. Ask them to explain each type of procedure and ask which one they prefer and why. Gather all the facts you can before making a decision that will affect your future.