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Permanent Contraception: Vasectomy or Tubal Ligation

Permanent Contraception: Vasectomy or Tubal Ligation

Permanent birth control (or sterilization) becomes part of the conversation when a couple decides that their family is complete. But the bigger question is: who will have the surgical procedure? The two most common forms of permanent birth control are vasectomy or tubal ligation. We consulted Jessica Meents, Urology PA-C, to weigh the pros and cons of these options. Keep in mind, it is wise to involve your own doctor in this decision.

What is a vasectomy?

During a scalpel-free vasectomy (performed at Ogden Clinic), a surgeon cuts the vas deferens, the tube that carries sperm from your testicles to your penis; this makes it so that sperm are no longer able to exit your body. After cutting the vas deferens, the surgeon will either burn or tie off the ends. No-scalpel vasectomy involves the surgeon clamping the vas deferens from the outside after identifying it by feel, and then puncturing the scrotum for access to cut and tie the vas deferens. Stitches are not required, and recovery lasts only a few days.

What is tubal ligation?

Tubal ligation cuts or blocks the fallopian tubes, which carry a woman’s eggs from the ovaries to the uterus. The operative procedure is performed with very small camera called a laparoscope. First, the surgeon makes small incisions in the abdomen. They’ll insert the laparoscope and instruments to block the fallopian tubes, which are either tied off, clamped, or burned. The incisions are stitched up at the end. Tubal ligation is most often performed under general anesthesia.

Comparison: Vasectomy & Tubal Ligation

In your opinion, is vasectomy or tubal ligation a better choice?

“For the price, less invasiveness, and efficacy, vasectomy is usually a solid choice,” says Jessica Meents. “Men want to run the other way when we talk about surgeries, but those who’ve done it say the pain and recovery are much more mild than they anticipated.” Jessica adds that Ogden Clinic vasectomies are performed in-office and take less than a half hour start to finish.

Tubal ligation presents a more serious risk than vasectomies, that of an ectopic, or extrauterine, pregnancy. Although rare, ectopic pregnancies are painful, dangerous, and require immediate surgery.

“By contrast, we see very few post-operative problems with vasectomies. There’s a small chance of infection, which can be handled with antibiotics, a low risk of chronic pain, or very rarely there is a risk of damaging the blood supply to the testicles. I’ve never seen that occur in my practice.”

March is Vas Madness at Ogden Clinic! If you have considered permanent contraception, we encourage you to schedule a consultation this month to explore your options. Make an appointment with a urologist here.