We Help You Decide Between a Conventional and No-scalpel Vasectomy
The mere thought of a vasectomy is usually enough to make a man wince and wish the image would go away. It's a classic male overreaction, of course. A vasectomy is a very simple and safe procedure and one of the most common of all surgeries. In the United States, more than half a million vasectomies are done every year.
It's nice to understand what's involved with any surgery involving one's genitalia, even surgery as simple as vasectomy. Many men may not realize they have a choice: conventional or no-scalpel vasectomy. If you're a guy who likes to weigh the pros and cons where your "gear" is concerned, here's a rundown on the two procedures:
With traditional vasectomy, an anesthetic is administered with a tiny needle (similar to the one used for insulin by people with diabetes) into the scrotum. Once you're all numbed up, your doctor uses a scalpel to make a small incision in the scrotum and pulls out and severs the vas deferens, which transports sperm from the testicle to the urethra. The physician then seals the ends of the vas deferens, returns them to the scrotum and stitches you back together. If your objective is to enjoy sex sans fatherhood, you're good to go after a brief recovery period.
A vasectomy is a non-intimidating procedure, usually done in a practice-based setting with a local anesthetic, and you're in and out in about 30 minutes. You're likely to experience slightly more postoperative pain with a conventional procedure than with no-scalpel vasectomy, because the skin is cut open to access the vas deferens, and you'll experience bleeding, but not much.
If you've heard that you'll be off work for a while and can't participate in sports for even longer, relax. You can look forward to a quick, comfortable recovery and return to work in a day or two. You'll probably want to give it about a week before you take a charge on the basketball court, but you can expect to resume full sports activities soon.
No-scalpel vasectomies are a less invasive approach, which tends to make it a popular option. A small puncture is made in anesthetized scrotal skin using an instrument called a hemostat. A ring clamp gently holds the vas deferens in place and small surgical scissors are used to sever the vas deferens. A cauterization device then seals and closes the area.
No-scalpel vasectomy takes about as long (30 minutes) as a traditional vasectomy. The healing process is often a bit faster since the scrotal opening is very small and requires no stitches, which helps minimize postoperative discomfort. There also tends to be less bleeding with this method, which means less chance of infection. Some men experience redness, swelling or difficulty urinating. In rare cases, semen buildup may cause a lump to form, which can be treated with medication.
Safe and reliable, yet…
While you won't experience discomfort or other negative impacts to your sex life, you should bear in mind that the effects of a vasectomy don't "take" immediately, because some sperm remains in the semen. Make sure your ejaculate is cleared out (a few ejaculations will usually do the trick), and take care to use a condom or some other contraception until your doctor says the seminal coast is clear. You'll need to arrange a follow-up appointment so your semen can be examined to ensure there is no sperm remaining before you can safely enjoy condom-free sex life.
The best news is that your sex life will take a major leap forward, meaning condoms can become a thing of the past if you're in a monogamous relationship and your postcoitus stress levels will shrink. The odds of a super-sperm somehow emerging and delivering a Hail Mary fertilization are less than minuscule, say about 1 or 2 in 1,000.
Both conventional and non-scalpel vasectomies are safe and effective, producing highly successful results with minimal complications and short recovery periods. But bear in mind that a vasectomy doesn't make you impervious to sexually transmitted infections (STIs), so don't throw out those condoms just yet.