A vasectomy is one of the most popular and effective male contraceptive methods available today. An estimated half-million American men have vasectomies performed each year. The procedure typically takes about a half-hour and carries minimal risk for complications. Best of all, there is no change in sexual function.
Many couples choose this means of birth control because a vasectomy is less invasive than a tubal ligation, the procedure used to prevent a woman’s eggs from reaching the uterus. A vasectomy can also be reversed with greater success.
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During a vasectomy, a surgeon performs a simple procedure to cut and close off the vas deferens, the tubes that carry sperm from the testes. As the sperm- and testosterone-producing organs, the testes are located in a sac at the base of the penis called the scrotum.
Each testicle is connected to a small, coiled tube called the epididymis, where sperm are stored for as long as six weeks while they mature. The epididymes are connected to the prostate gland by a pair of tubes called the vas deferens.
The vas deferens is part of a larger bundle of tissue, blood vessels, nerves, and lymphatic channels called the spermatic cord. During ejaculation, seminal fluid produced by the prostate gland mixes with sperm from the testes to form semen, which is ejaculated from the penis.
No-Scalpel Vasectomy Technique
Considered a safe, minimally invasive procedure, a vasectomy is an outpatient procedure performed by an Urologist during an office visit. The No-Scalpel Vasectomy has a very low complication rate and differs from conventional vasectomy in the application of the local anesthetic and in how the vas deferens (vasa) are reached.
The patient typically remains clothed from the waist up and lies on his back. The scrotum is numbed with one or more injections of local anesthetic (lidocaine). The vas deferens is gathered under the skin of the scrotum and a single small opening in the skin is made with a pointed forceps, usually 1 centimeter or less.
The vas deferens is then pulled through the incision, cut in two places, and a 1-centimeter segment is removed before the vas deferens is placed back in the scrotum. Some urologists cauterize the ends of the vas deferens, but others find that cauterization complicates reversal and is unnecessary.
The Urologist may place sutures in the incision site or it may not require sutures due to the minimal size. The procedure takes 10 to 20 minutes and most men go home immediately after.
If you are considering a vasectomy, contact us to schedule an appointment with one of our board certified urologists or download our Vasectomy Brochure to learn more about the procedure performed at our San Francisco Bay Area urology clinic.