What’s the Difference Between a Traditional vs. No-Scalpel Vasectomy?
Each year, approximately 600,000 men in the U.S. undergo a vasectomy. Vasectomy is widely considered by doctors to be the safest and most convenient form of surgical sterilization. There are two types of vasectomy procedure methods for men, a traditional vasectomy and a no-scalpel vasectomy. When talking with my patients and walking them through the two methods, it becomes clear that one method has more desirable benefits over the other.
The traditional vasectomy
The traditional vasectomy has been used for decades for family planning. In this procedure, the doctor first numbs the scrotum with a needle injection. Then uses a scalpel to make either one or two cuts into the scrotum. Once both of the vas deferens are cut to complete the vasectomy, the scrotal cuts are sewn together in order to heal.
A traditional vasectomy is typically more painful and has a slower recovery time than a no-scalpel vasectomy. It can also be riskier, with possible complications such as bruising, swelling, epididymitis and infection.
The no-scalpel vasectomy
The no-scalpel vasectomy method has become largely popular since the 1980s, and for good reason. This method is just as effective as a traditional vasectomy, but results in a shorter recovery time and less pain post-operation.
In a no-scalpel vasectomy procedure, there’s no incision, only one tiny puncture of the scrotum. During a no-scalpel vasectomy, the surgeon uses a special device to spread the scrotal skin and access both of the vas deferens. Since the skin is only spread— without any cuts— no stitches are needed to close the skin. Because there are no stitches, post-vasectomy pain is virtually eliminated. Additionally, this method uses a no-needle anesthetic to numb the scrotal skin and tissues around the vas deferens. This way is just as effective as needle injections— without the pain from an injection.
So, why choose no-scalpel vasectomy?
Both the traditional and no-scalpel vasectomies are highly effective and similar success rates as a type of permanent birth control. While the traditional vasectomy is a safe option, doctors developed the no-scalpel vasectomy to further reduce the chance of any complications.
Since the no-needle no-scalpel vasectomy doesn’t use any needles or scalpels, the procedure is performed quicker than the traditional method. More important for men, there is less risk of complications like bleeding, bruises or infections. Also, since there are no cuts or stitches, men experience less pain with the no-scalpel method and tend to use fewer pain medicines and take less time off from work or physical activity.
In fact, the no-scalpel vasectomy is typically so “pain-free” that I’ve had to remind many of my patients who have had the procedure to rest for the next few days so that they don’t accidentally do too much too soon.
Choose the more convenient and “pain-free” vasectomy
It’s safe to say that vasectomies are a well-proven, safe and effective method of contraception. In fact, according to the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, only one out of every 2,000 vasectomies is unsuccessful.