Greater Boston Urology Blog

What is a No-Scalpel Vasectomy?

As you can imagine, we get many questions regarding vasectomies. Two of the most popular? What is a vasectomy like? And what is a no-scalpel vasectomy? Below, we tackle these questions along with several others.

As with all content on Greater Boston Urology's blog, the following information is educational in nature, not medical advice. Always talk to your physician about your specific health care questions and conditions.

[Editor's note: This article was reviewed and updated on 5/18/21 with additional links.]

1.  What is a no-scalpel vasectomy?

There are two types of vasectomies. There's the "traditional" vasectomy, which involves making two small incisions in the scrotum in order to access the vas deferens.

There's also the "no-scalpel" vasectomy, which, as it sounds, doesn't involve any cutting. Instead, a special instrument is used to make one tiny hole in the skin of the scrotum above the vas deferens. 

The no-scalpel technique has become more popular in recent years due to less bleeding, less pain, no stitches, and quicker recovery, although both methods are equally effective. (Your urologist can help you determine which procedure is best for you.) 

Below, Dr. Stanley E. Kraus discusses no-scalpel vasectomies, a procedure he's been performing for decades: 

2.  How many vasectomies are performed each year?

About half a million vasectomies are performed in the United States each year. The number varies a bit, depending on what source is cited, but this study published in 2018 by the National Center for biotechnology Information (NCBI) uses data from the study and the most recent US census data to conclude, "An estimated 527,476 vasectomies were performed in the United States in 2015." 

So half a million, give or take, is a reasonable estimate at the moment. This could change, however. It's worth noting that in Britain, the number of vasectomies has decreased by nearly two thirds in the last decade, according to the NHS. 

3. What is a vasectomy like?

A vasectomy is an outpatient procedure. Both conventional and no-scalpel vasectomies are outpatient procedures typically performed in a urologist's office. Both involve the use of a local anesthetic and can take anywhere from 15-30 minutes to perform. 

4. What is sex like after a vasectomy?

You'll still be able to ejaculate after having a vasectomy. Your erections will also be the same as they were before the procedure. 

5. Can pregnancy still occur after a vasectomy?

Pregnancy, while extremely rare, can still happen after a vasectomy. This isn't meant to alarm readers. Vasectomies tend to be safer, cheaper, and more effective than female sterilization methods. In fact, vasectomies are almost 100% effective, but beware the word "almost." 

The American Pregnancy Association rightly notes that "failure" most often occurs in the first few weeks after the vasectomy when there could still be viable sperm left in the ejaculate fluid. In fact, it can take several months before any remaining sperm is ejaculated or reabsorbed by the body. This means you need to use another form of birth control (e.g., condoms) during the interim. 

It takes about 2-3 months and at least 20 ejaculations to clear the sperm. After this time, you'll get a semen analysis to ensure there is no sperm left. Once the semen analysis is clear, you no longer need to worry about impregnating your partner. 

6. Can a vasectomy affect prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels?

According to a study published in 2018 by the NCBI titled "Long-term safety, health and mental status in men with vasectomy," a "vasectomy had no long-term effect on the level of sexual hormones in men, and it did not increase the level of PSA."

7. What is vasectomy season? Is it a real thing?

Yes! Vasectomy "season" is a real thing. The reason we're publishing this article in March is because it's officially vasectomy season. Urologists usually advise their patients to take it easy for a couple days after the procedure by resting on the couch or in bed. As a result, many men will often align the procedure with a big sporting event, like March Madness, so they can take in some extra TV viewing during this doctor-directed downtime. 

Are you looking for a Boston vasectomy clinic?

We have multiple locations in the greater Boston area, including MetroWest, the south shore, and the Cape. Make an appointment with one of our fine physicians.

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