The types of vasectomy are important to know when men are deciding whether to undergo a vasectomy. Generally there are two types of vasectomy, a scalpel vasectomy and a no-scalpel vasectomy.
In both cases, men are given a local anesthetic before the procedure. Usually the anesthetic is delivered to the scrotum using a needle injection. However, a newer non-needle approach also can be used, and men should ask their surgeon if this is available, especially if they are needle phobic. The anesthetic is delivered via a pressurized jet injection spray applied to the scrotum, and the technique is painless or nearly painless.
Types of Vasectomy: Scalpel Vasectomy
A scalpel or traditional vasectomy is an outpatient procedure that is usually performed in a doctor’s office under local anesthesia, although it can also be done in a clinic or outpatient unit at a hospital. You may be offered a mild sedative about 30 to 60 minutes before the procedure.
After you are lying on the table and the anesthetic has been administered, the surgeon uses a scalpel to make one or two tiny incisions in the scrotum to expose the vas deferens tubes from each testicle. Each vas deferens is lifted from the scrotum, cut, and a portion removed. The vas ends are either tied, cauterized, or closed using clips. A few stitches are used to close the incisions, and the vasectomy is complete, taking about 15 to 30 minutes, depending on how the surgeon has closed the vas deferens.
Types of Vasectomy: No-Scalpel Vasectomy
If you chose a no-scalpel vasectomy, you may or may not take a sedative to make you sleepy, but if you want it, be sure to ask. After you are lying on the table, the doctor will numb the scrotum by injecting a local anesthetic solution into the scrotal skin or use a pressurized jet spray, which delivers an anesthetic over the vas deferens without the use of a needle. The surgeon then feels for the vas deferens under the skin of the scrotum. Once he or she has located it, the tube is secured with a tiny clamp and pointed forceps are used to puncture the layers of skin until the vas deferens is revealed. The vas deferens is lifted out through the opening and cut, and the ends are either tied, cauterized, or sealed with clips. Use of clips can shorten the surgery time slightly, but there are no clear advantages to using clips rather than tying or cauterizing the ends of the vas deferens. The surgical opening is small enough to close on its own, but your surgeon may elect to suture it.