How is a Vasectomy Performed?

Published: 27th January 2010
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A vasectomy is a procedure that prevents sperm from travelling from a man's testicles to his penis, therefore preventing the possibility of him impregnating a woman during sexual intercourse. It is a form of permanent contraception used most commonly by men who have children, but who have decided with their partners not to further add to their family.

In the UK a Vasectomy is obtainable either on the NHS or through private practices. There are shorter waiting lists though for private patients. Patients are in and out of hospital on the same day, and the procedure is performed under a local anaesthetic, and normally takes less than an hour.

A conventional vasectomy is performed by the surgeon making two incisions in the scrotum, one on either side. The surgeon can then reach the tubes that carry sperm from the testicles to the penis. These tubes are called the Vas Deferens. Each Vas Deferens is then cut and part of the tube in removed. The ends are then permanently sealed, usually by being tied. Finally the incisions in the scrotum are stitched with dissolvable stitching.

A relatively new technique of performing a vasectomy is a no-scalpel vasectomy. This new advancement is not available everywhere, but it is becoming more commonly available. It is more popular amongst patients than a conventional vasectomy. With this form of the procedure no incision is made in the scrotum. Instead the surgeon looks for the Vas Deferens using his/her hand to feel them underneath the skin and then clamp them with a small tool. A small hole is then punctured in the skin of the scrotum. A small hole can be used instead of an incision as the Vas Deferens has been found prior to this, meaning the hole can be made is the best place possible. The surgeon will then cut and seal the tubes as with a conventional vasectomy. This method is generally less painful for the patient.

Having a vasectomy procedure means a man can have sexual intercourse without the fear of impregnating his partner. To begin with there may still be sperm in the tubes between the testicles and penis. It is therefore recommended that other contraception is used during the first few instances of intercourse after the procedure. After a period of a few weeks there should be no further risks of pregnancy. However, a vasectomy does not prevent the possibility of sexually transmitted infections being passed.

With enhancements in medicine vasectomies are becoming more and more popular amongst men who have decided to no longer reproduce. It is a difficult decision though as it is effectively a permanent form of contraception. Surgeons have been able to reverse vasectomies but it is not always possible.

Anne Heywood ©

For Vasectomy Services visit the Marie Stopes website.

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