A healthy living blog from Marshfield Clinic Health System

Odd combo: Vasectomy and basketball

Man holding basketball

Some urology practices report higher-than-usual vasectomy procedures during March Madness.

If you’re a guy who loves basketball and you’re planning a vasectomy around this time of year, you’re not alone.

Thousands of men nationwide plan vasectomy procedures precisely so they can recuperate and not miss the first big weekend of the NCAA “March Madness” basketball tournament.

Some urology practices report more-than-usual appointments for men who relish the idea of healing while watching non-stop basketball.

A vasectomy is a surgical removal of the vas deferens, the duct that conveys sperm from the testicle to the penis. The procedure can be performed quickly in a urologist’s office.

Recover in two to three days

“We tell patients to take it easy for two to three days, use ice and a supporter to keep the incision from swelling and make sure your kids or pets don’t jump on you,” said Marshfield Clinic Urologist Dr. Balaji Kalyanaraman. “Usually we do the procedure on a Friday and the patient is recovered and ready to return to work on Monday.”

Vasectomies are performed under local anesthetic rather than sedation and almost all patients do well with over-the-counter pain relievers.

Vasectomy easier than tooth removal

“I tell men that once they get over their initial anxiety, a vasectomy is easier than having a tooth removed. Though, some men need a mild sedative to help them relax,” he said.

The question men may ask is why they should have a surgical type of birth control method, instead of their wives. But the female equivalent, a tubal ligation, is riskier, requires use of an anesthetic and carries a small risk of damaging nearby organs. The incision is also larger so it is more painful and requires a longer recovery period.

“Men can tell their significant others they’re having it done to spare them, and they have a point,” he said.

By comparison, Kalyanaraman performs the newer “no-scalpel” method which requires a very small skin puncture hole in the middle of the scrotum. He finds the vas deferens under the skin, pulls it through the hole, cuts the duct and removes a small section, tying off or cauterizing the ends. He then repeats the procedure on the other side through the same skin puncture. No stitches are needed because the puncture hole is so small.

Less than 30 minutes

“It takes less than two hours from the time the patient arrives until he leaves, with the procedure itself taking less than 30 minutes,” he said. “We can still see more patients for March – or any month for that matter – and even same-day appointments if needed.”

Kalyanaraman does suspect the “Vas Madness” phenomena, as some call it, is not as common locally as it is in basketball hotbeds to the south and east of Wisconsin. But that could change, depending on who’s winning.

For more information about scheduling a vasectomy, call Marshfield Clinic’s Urology Department, 715-387-5231.

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