Scalpel Free Vasectomy
Scalpel Free Vasectomy*
A vasectomy is a surgical procedure to make a man sterile. After the operation, sperm can no longer mix with semen. This is the fluid that’s ejaculated from the penis. A vasectomy has traditionally required a scalpel to make two small incisions in the scrotum. However, since the 1980s, a scalpel free vasectomy (SFV) has become a popular option for many men.
The scalpel free method is a minimally invasive technique that is just effective as a conventional vasectomy. An SFV results in less bleeding, less discomfort and a faster recovery. It is a simple procedure (but still better performed by doctors with training than DIY!) that can be performed in the clinic with special equipment under local anaesthetic and oral sedation.
Vasectomy is the most efficient form of permanent male contraception available with a failure rate of less the 0.1%. After a vasectomy your testes will continue to produce sperm and the male hormone testosterone normally, so your sex drive and libido are unaltered. As the sperm will be unable to exit through the vas tubes, they will be reabsorbed (and recycled) by the body in the same process that naturally occurs to any unused sperm.
There is no link between vasectomy and increased rates of heart disease, male menopause, cancer of the testes or prostate. SFV has lower rates of complications such as pain, infection or bleeding and is now the preferred method of performing a vasectomy.
Vasectomy should be considered permanent as reversal procedures are expensive and not always successful.
The Scalpel Free Vasectomy Procedure
Local anaesthetic is used in the skin in front of the scrotum. You will be offered the option of taking a mild oral sedative (please arrange someone to collect you after the procedure if this is taken).
During the procedure, your doctor will feel for the vas deferens under the skin. Once located, the ducts will be held in place just under the skin with a special clamp from outside the scrotum.
A single small opening, less than 5mm in size is made in the centre of the scrotum below the penis without using a blade.
A loop of the vas deferens is then brought through the opening and snipped. The testicular end is left open whilst the other end is sealed internally. A barrier of internal tissue is then created prevent the ends re-joining before returning the vas to its normal position within the scrotum. The procedure is then repeated on the other side.
The small opening in your scrotum will close rapidly and heal without needing stitches. Once the incision heals there will be a small scar that will fade over time.
For a visual description, please have a look at this video on Youtube: No Scalpel Vasectomy Animation
Overall, there is very little discomfort and recovery is faster compared to traditional vasectomy. It is recommended that men rest and take it easy for the first couple of days after vasectomy. Sexual activity, using another form of contraception, can resume within a few of days of a vasectomy, when you feel up to it (pun intended).
Men are not immediately sterile after the operation. There can be sperm in the semen for many months after the operation (rarely up to 18 months). You need to continue to use contraception until postoperative sperm tests have been carried out and you have at least one satisfactory sperm test showing no more live (motile) sperm.
For even more information check out this Patient Information Page
*Thanks to Healthline.com's excellent article on No-Scalpel Vasectomy, 26 July 2018 from which we have borrowed and adapted text.