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1.  Frequency and patterns of early recanalization after vasectomy 
BMC Urology  2006;6:25.
Our understanding of early post-vasectomy recanalization is limited to histopathological studies. The objective of this study was to estimate the frequency and to describe semen analysis patterns of early recanalization after vasectomy.
Charts displaying serial post-vasectomy semen analyses were created using the semen analysis results from 826 and 389 men participating in a randomized trial of fascial interposition (FI) and an observational study of cautery, respectively. In the FI trial, participants were randomly allocated to vas occlusion by ligation and excision with or without FI. In the cautery study, sites used their usual cautery occlusion technique, two with and two without FI. Presumed early recanalization was based on the assessment of individual semen analysis charts by three independent reviewers. Discrepancies were resolved by consensus.
Presumed early recanalization was characterized by a very low sperm concentration within two weeks after vasectomy followed by return to large numbers of sperm over the next few weeks. The overall proportion of men with presumed early recanalization was 13% (95% CI 12%–15%). The risk was highest with ligation and excision without FI (25%) and lowest for thermal cautery with FI (0%). The highest proportion of presumed early recanalization was observed among men classified as vasectomy failures.
Early recanalization, occurring within the first weeks after vasectomy, is more common than generally recognized. Its frequency depends on the occlusion technique performed.
PMCID: PMC1586021  PMID: 16984640
2.  A comparison of vas occlusion techniques: cautery more effective than ligation and excision with fascial interposition 
BMC Urology  2004;4:12.
Vasectomy techniques have been the subject of relatively few rigorous studies. The objective of this analysis was to compare the effectiveness of two techniques for vas occlusion: intraluminal cautery versus ligation and excision with fascial interposition. More specifically, we aimed to compare early failure rates, sperm concentrations, and time to success between the two techniques.
We compared semen analysis data from men following vasectomy using two occlusion techniques. Data on intraluminal cautery came from a prospective observational study conducted at four sites. Data on ligation and excision with fascial interposition came from a multicenter randomized controlled trial that evaluated the efficacy of ligation and excision with versus without fascial interposition. The surgical techniques used in the fascial interposition study were standardized. The surgeons in the cautery study used their customary techniques, which varied among sites in terms of type of cautery, use of fascial interposition, excision of a short segment of the vas, and use of an open-ended technique. Men in both studies had semen analyses two weeks after vasectomy and then approximately every four weeks. The two outcome measures for the analyses presented here are (a) time to success, defined as severe oligozoospermia, or <100,000 sperm/mL in two consecutive semen analyses; and (b) early vasectomy failure, defined as >10 million sperm/mL at week 12 or later.
Vasectomy with cautery was associated with a significantly more rapid progression to severe oligozoospermia and with significantly fewer early failures (1% versus 5%).
The use of cautery improves vasectomy outcomes. Limitations of this comparison include (a) the variety of surgical techniques in the cautery study and differences in methods of fascial interposition between the two studies, (b) the uncertain correlation between sperm concentrations after vasectomy and the risk of pregnancy, and (c) the use of historical controls and different study sites.
PMCID: PMC529470  PMID: 15509302
3.  Effectiveness of vasectomy using cautery 
BMC Urology  2004;4:10.
Little evidence supports the use of any one vas occlusion method. Data from a number of studies now suggest that there are differences in effectiveness among different occlusion methods. The main objectives of this study were to estimate the effectiveness of vasectomy by cautery and to describe the trends in sperm counts after cautery vasectomy. Other objectives were to estimate time and number of ejaculations to success and to determine the predictive value of success at 12 weeks for final status at 24 weeks.
A prospective, non-comparative observational study was conducted between November 2001 and June 2002 at 4 centers in Brazil, Canada, the UK, and the US. Four hundred men who chose vasectomy were enrolled and followed for 6 months. Sites used their usual cautery vasectomy technique. Earlier and more frequent than normal semen analyses (2, 5, 8, 12, 16, 20, and 24 weeks after vasectomy) were performed. Planned outcomes included effectiveness (early failure based on semen analysis), trends in sperm counts, time and number of ejaculations to success, predictive value of success at 12 weeks for the outcome at 24 weeks, and safety evaluation.
A total of 364 (91%) participants completed follow-up. The overall failure rate based on semen analysis was 0.8% (95% confidence interval 0.2, 2.3). By 12 weeks 96.4% of participants showed azoospermia or severe oligozoospermia (< 100,000 sperm/mL). The predictive value of a single severely oligozoospermia sample at 12 weeks for vasectomy success at the end of the study was 99.7%. One serious unrelated adverse event and no pregnancies were reported.
Cautery is a very effective method for occluding the vas. Failure based on semen analysis is rare. In settings where semen analysis is not practical, using 12 weeks as a guideline for when men can rely on their vasectomy should lessen the risk of failure compared to using a guideline of 20 ejaculations after vasectomy.
PMCID: PMC503392  PMID: 15260885

Results 1-3 (3)