No Scalpel Vasectomy: A New Method For Male Birth Control

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Using traditional methods to perform vasectomies can be dangerous, as the surgeon must make several small incisions in the scrotum to access the tubes that carry sperm from the testicles to the semen. That’s why physicians and researchers have been working hard to find a way to safely perform vasectomies that doesn’t require cuts or stitches, allowing patients to go home directly after and not worry about pain or bleeding.

What It Is?

No scalpel vasectomies require no incision in order to be performed. The doctor simply uses an endoscope (an instrument used to see internal organs) in order to locate and cut each vas deferens. A device is then used to seal each vas, preventing sperm from mixing with the semen and exiting through ejaculation. A no-scalpel vasectomy is generally much faster than traditional techniques and—most importantly—incredibly safe. In fact, there are fewer complications with no-scalpel techniques than with standard surgical procedures. No-scalpel vasectomies have been around since 1991, but it’s only recently that they’ve become more popular.

How Does It Work?

During a vasectomy, your doctor makes two tiny cuts in your scrotum and guides in instruments to cut and seal off sperm-carrying tubes. With no-scalpel vasectomy, your doctor has to make more than one tiny cut but not as many as in traditional vasectomies. Instead of using a scalpel to make those cuts, he or she uses an electrically heated device with a less thermal spread that doesn’t actually touch your skin. Because there are only two cuts instead of four—and they aren’t made with sharp blades—there is less tissue damage than traditional procedures. Less tissue damage means there is less bleeding and swelling after surgery; some men report feeling like themselves again just two days later. The added bonus? No pain medication is required!

Where It’s Available:

No scalpel vasectomies have only been performed in select locations, mostly in developing countries. However, it’s expected that they will be available to men in America within five years or so. It’s easy to see why; no-scalpel vasectomies are painless and relatively cheap—under $1,000 on average. And they can be performed under local anesthesia with little risk of complications. The procedure does not affect sexual function or performance and also does not impact semen quality.

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Though vasectomies are widely available, they aren’t exactly cheap. The average cost of having a vasectomy done in the U.S. is $1,185 to $3,000. But that doesn’t include anesthesia or follow-up visits (it typically takes two appointments for men to be declared sperm free). Given that each year about 440 million couples worldwide want to avoid pregnancy but don’t use birth control, an effective male birth control option could potentially transform health care by lowering abortion rates and reducing rates of unplanned pregnancies across all income levels.

Success Rates:

A No-Scalpel vasectomy is often done as an outpatient procedure, under local anesthesia. The success rate of a No-Scalpel vasectomy is generally lower than that of traditional vasectomies, with pregnancy rates in the first year after surgery at 5%, although that figure falls to around 1% after two years. That said, those numbers are much better than birth control options like condoms and birth control pills, which are only 85-92% effective. As with traditional vasectomies, it’s important to know that it can take months—even up to 3 months—for your body to completely stop producing sperm. So you’ll want to make sure you’re using another method of contraception until then.

Risks And Complications:

Although vasectomies are considered safe and effective, there is always some risk associated with any medical procedure. Potential complications include infection, bleeding, allergic reactions to medication or anesthesia, and excessive pain during recovery. There is also a small chance that sperm may re-appear (although they will no longer be viable). Additionally, vasectomies are not 100% effective at preventing pregnancy; approximately 15 out of 1000 men who undergo vasectomy will still have viable sperm at some point in time and will therefore be able to impregnate their partners. That said, these numbers should not scare you away from getting a vasectomy—compared to female sterilization (tubal ligation) which has an approximate failure rate of one per 200 procedures.


1. Is Vasectomy Safe?


Yes, vasectomies are safe and effective methods of birth control when performed by an experienced physician.

2. How long does it take to recover?


You will be back to your normal activities within 1 week after surgery.

3. Does It Hurt?


Not really, most men say that there is more discomfort from pressure from tight jeans than from vasectomy itself!

4. How Effective Is It?


When performed by an experienced physician, vasectomy is 99% effective at preventing pregnancy with less than one chance in a hundred thousand pregnancies occurring despite these efforts.