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Vasectomy and other vasal occlusion techniques for male contraception

Anthony Viera, MD, MPH
Section Editor
Jerome P Richie, MD, FACS
Deputy Editor
Wenliang Chen, MD, PhD


Vasectomy is the most effective mode of permanent male contraception, and the only method that is widely available. The techniques used for interruption or occlusion of the vas deferens are discussed here. An overview of vasectomy including patient counseling is discussed elsewhere. (See "Overview of vasectomy".)


Vasectomy is a minor surgical procedure which divides the vas deferens [1]. The procedure takes about 15 minutes and can be performed in an appropriately equipped office or ambulatory surgery center [2]. No-scalpel vasectomy is the preferred vasectomy technique in the United States (US) because of its lower complication rates, but it has yet to be adopted world-wide. Because reversal of vasectomy cannot be guaranteed, other methods of vasal occlusion are being investigated.

Three techniques are used for interruption or occlusion of the vas deferens. This topic will focus primarily on vasectomy; vasal occlusion and vasal injection techniques have been described but are not in general use.

Vasal transection — Vasectomy involves transection of the vas deferens, and is typically performed in an outpatient setting with local anesthesia.

Conventional vasectomy — The traditional vasectomy approach involves bilateral scrotal incisions through which the vas deferens is mobilized and transected. This technique accounts for a small proportion of vasectomies performed in the US, but remains the most common technique in many other areas of the world [3]. (See 'Vasectomy procedure' below.)


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Literature review current through: Sep 2016. | This topic last updated: Jun 6, 2016.
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