What is No-Scalpel Vasectomy

Effective Birth Control

Over 500,000 vasectomy procedures are done each year in the United States. Vasectomy is a simple, safe surgical procedure for permanent male birth control.The tube (called a “vas”) which leads from the testicle is cut and sealed in order to stop sperm from leaving. The procedure usually takes about 15 to 20 minutes on each side. Since the procedure simply blocks or interrupts the delivery of sperm it does not change hormonal function – leaving sexual drive, erection ability and potency unchanged.

The “No-Scalpel” Technique

The “No-Scalpel” technique is a technique to do the vasectomy through one single puncture instead of through 2 scalpel incisions on each side. This “no-scalpel” puncture is made into the front of the scrotal skin and requires no suturing or stitches. It represents a significant improvement over other vasectomy techniques because it is associated with less bleeding and infection. Since it is less traumatic it also shortens recovery time.

This procedure is done with the aid of a local anesthetic called “Xylocaine” (similar to “Novocain”) which is used to numb the vas and the skin of the scrotal sac, but is not injected into the testicle. It prevents you from feeling any pain during the procedure. The actual blocking of the vas which is done with the “No-Scalpel” technique is identical to the interruption made with other techniques. The “No-Scalpel” technique is simply a more elegant and less traumatic way for the surgeon to isolate the vas and proceed with its interruption.

Risks, Complications, Important Information

As with any surgical procedure, the primary risks of vasectomy are infection and bleeding. These risks are generally low for this procedure. It is also important that each patient understand that vasectomy is essentially an irreversible procedure, in other words, it is permanent. While vasectomy can be reversed surgically at times, its successful reversal cannot be guaranteed. Also important is the fact that the vas deferens can grow back together. This is called recanalization and occurs rarely – less than 1/2 to 1 percent (0.5%-1%) of the time.

The Effects of Vasectomy

A vasectomy leaves the patient unchanged except for the fact that the sperm cord (vas) is blocked. The testes still produce sperm, but they die and are absorbed by the body. The level of male hormone remains the same and all sexual characteristics remain the same. Ability to have an erection is also entirely unchanged.

Timing of Vasectomy

Following your procedure, it is important that you remain off your feet as much as possible for 24 to 48 hours. This is important in order to minimize the chance of post-surgical swelling and pain. You should have someone else drive you home. You may shower at your leisure. Desk work or light duty work may be resumed after 48 hours. Sexual activity may be resumed in approximately 4 to 5 days. (Though at this time you are not yet sterile and safe from pregnancy.)
Your doctor will ask you to bring in a semen specimen approximately 6 weeks after your vasectomy. This must be checked in order to be assured that the vasectomy made you sterile.

More about the No-Scalpel Technique

The “No-Scalpel” technique is a technique that was first done in China in 1974. Over recent years it has become more and more popular in the United States. The vasectomy done is essentially the same as vasectomies done for many many years. Its primary difference is that the vas deferens is identified, isolated and grasped by the surgeon in a less traumatic manner. This results in less pain and bleeding. No sutures are needed so there are fewer postoperative complications. As time continues more and more physicians are using the technique.Adapted from GU Logic Inc.