Health & Medicine

Tuesday, 16 July 2019 11:41

Vasectomy: safe, quick and effective form of contraception - urologist

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Vasectomies are a safe and effective form of contraception for men and fears that they may contribute to cancer are unfounded, according to research.

A vasectomy, also known as “the snip”, is a common form of contraception in many countries and involves a surgical procedure to cut the supply of sperm to the semen by blocking the tube (vas deferens) through which sperm normally passes from each testicle.

“Before getting a vasectomy, men must be certain they don’t want to father a child in the future,” said Dr Odion Aire from The Urology Hospital, Pretoria.

Aire said a vasectomy is generally simple to perform, safe and won’t negatively affect sex drive.

Vasectomies were previously thought to be associated with a small increased risk of prostate cancer but a study of over three million men, the largest of its kind, has shown that a vasectomy won’t increase prostate cancer risk.

“This review found no association between vasectomy and high-grade, advanced-stage, or fatal prostate cancer,” the study by US and Canadian researchers found.

Aire, a urologist, said vasectomies were one of the best forms of birth control after abstinence, with a success rate of over 99%. He said modern surgical methods could take around 30 minutes and may involve the "no-scalpel" method, whereby a puncture is made through the scrotum. Tubes are then accessed without having to make an incision.

Alternatively, a scalpel may be used to make one or two small incisions for access points through which the procedure is performed.

“A vasectomy is a routine and quick procedure which we do regularly at The Urology Hospital and generally does not require overnight stay,” he said, adding that the procedure can be reversed but the surgery is a little more complicated than the vasectomy.

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