Vasectomy Procedures : A guide to Vasectomy

We talk about vasectomy as a single procedure but there are two ways of performing this surgery – the conventional method and the newer ‘no-scalpel’ or keyhole method.

Conventional method

This is performed under a local anaesthetic although a general anaesthetic may be given in certain cases.

The local anaesthetic is injected just above the testes and either side of the scrotum. The surgeon then makes a small incision in those areas using a small scalpel.

Your surgeon then has access to two small tubes within your testicles called the ‘vas deferens’. These tubes are responsible for carrying sperm from the testicles which enter your semen during ejaculation. Your surgeon cuts and removes a small section of these tubes before closing them either by tying them or using intense heat to seal them.

The incisions are then closed with dissolvable stitches which will disappear within a week.

This form of surgery is usually carried out by the NHS although the newer ‘no-scalpel’method is increasingly being offered.

No-scalpel method

This newer form of vasectomy is performed as keyhole surgery and is widely available at private clinics around the UK. However, some GPs have undertaken training in this procedure.

This is also performed under a local anaesthetic but there is the alternative of a general anaesthetic in certain cases.

The difference with this procedure and the conventional method is that no incision is made with a scalpel. Instead the surgeon uses a special clamp called a ‘haemostat’ which he/she uses to hold the vas deferens in place.

He or she then makes a tiny puncture hole in the scrotum and uses a pair of forceps to gain greater access to the vas deferens. This negates the need to make an incision.

The surgeon cuts and ties off the tubes in the same way as the conventional method.

This method has fewer complications and is less painful than the conventional procedure.

There won’t be any pain during either of these procedures but you may experience some mild discomfort.

The aim of these vasectomy procedures

Both these methods aim for the same result: that of preventing sperm from entering the ejaculatory fluid which could result in a pregnancy.

Both procedures take around 15 to 30 minutes to perform and are carried out as ‘day surgery’.

The future of vasectomy

Medical science is advancing all the time and new techniques are developed for all types of surgery which includes vasectomy.

There is research being undertaken into simplifying the vasectomy procedure, for example inserting a ‘plug’ into the vas deferens instead of cutting and sealing these tubes.

This could be the answer to those men who change their mind.

This plug would be removed from the vas deferens which would restore fertility. It could remove the need to undergo a vasectomy reversal.

Which procedure is right for you?

This is something that will be decided upon in the initial consultation between you and the surgeon. This is discussed in greater detail in the next section.

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