A vasectomy is an effective, permanent form of birth control that prevents men from fathering children. This procedure is performed on an outpatient basis and has a relatively low risk of complications or side effects.
Currently, there are two different techniques utilized during a vasectomy: a scalpel and no-scalpel approach.
During the traditional scalpel procedure, conscious sedation (also called twilight anesthesia) and a local anesthetic are administered to reduce the patient’s pain and discomfort throughout the procedure. The surgeon then uses a scalpel to make one or two small incisions in the skin of the scrotum. At this point, the vas deferens tubes, which carry sperm to the ejaculatory duct, are exposed. The surgeon lifts, cuts, and ties or cauterizes these tubes before returning them to the scrotal sac. The incisions are then closed with a few stitches, and the patient is sent to a separate room to recover.
During the no-scalpel approach, a special surgical device is used to make a single puncture into the scrotal sac. The physician then uses tiny forceps to clip and seal the vas deferens in a conventional way to avoid sutures or stitches. This procedure utilizes the same techniques as the traditional vasectomy procedure, but with different tools. Men who are considering a vasectomy should realize this procedure does not protect against sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV/AIDS, and will require three months of recovery before unprotected sex can occur.