Monthly Archives: August 2017

5th World Vasectomy Day | Minnesota

It might seem odd to dedicate an entire day to vasectomies, but for Dr. Shu and the other 1,000 doctors participating in World Vasectomy Day on November 17, it’s an important event that spreads awareness on the most effective but underutilized methods of contraception: the vasectomy.

With industrialization and modern medicine making it safer and easier to give birth and raise children, the world population has skyrocketed- current projections predict the world population will plateau at 11 billion. High population puts a strain on resources like food, medicine, and energy. In many areas of the world that are seeing rapid population growth, sexual education and medical resources have not caught up to other areas in society. Vasectomies are excellent for family planning in areas that are not well developed and do not have the resources that most of us take for granted.

At World Vasectomy Day, local Mexican and international doctors will provide free vasectomies, along with live-streamed interviews with family planning experts, patients, and their families. This will be Dr. Shu’s 5th year participating in the event, and the One Stop Medical Center will offer free large pizza.

This year’s World Vasectomy Day is being held in Mexico. Doctors around the world participating in World Vasectomy Day will provide as many vasectomies as possible in a span of 24 hours. The goal of World Vasectomy Day is to spread awareness of vasectomies and to dispel myths associated with them through community outreach and open dialogue.

Understanding Male Infertility

Infertility, simply put, is the inability to conceive children. There are several causes for male infertility: low sperm count, low sperm motility, and poor sperm morphology. Each of these can make conception difficult. Each of these can be a result of genetics or environment. These days, it seems like the list of things that’ll give you cancer or a disease is increasingly long and confusing, so I’ll try to make it simple.

Low sperm count is simply the lack of sperm of in semen. A lot of this is caused by environmental factors such as excessive alcohol and drug abuse, sexually transmitted disease and infections, exposure to toxins, hazardous chemicals, and radiation. These can be usually be avoided by taking the proper precautions. Not to mention the many other negative side effects that accompanies them. Low sperm count can also be influenced by exposing the testicles to high heat (from a fever), and genetic causes such as Klinefelter’s syndrome, or cystic fibrosis.

Abnormal sperm refers to sperm that is not a normal shape and is thus unable to swim or function normally, preventing conception. This can be caused by testicular inflammation, twisted or swollen veins in the scrotum, exposure to heat, as well as environmental influences such as exposure to toxic chemicals.

Infertility can also be caused by other issues such as premature ejaculation, retrograde ejeculations, erectile dysfunction, and other structural problems related to the male reproductive organs. Although men do not suffer the same loss of fertility that women do with age, men past the age of 70 may exhibit decreasing sperm quality. Many medical conditions such as diabetes, HIV, thyroid diseases, organ failure, heart attack, and anemia can cause infertility as well.

Various drugs can also cause infertility, including: steroids, cimetidine (Tagamet), sulfasalazine (Azulfidine), salazopyrine, colchicine, methadone, methotrexate (Folex), phenytoin (Dilantin), among many others.

Vasectomy is obviously a common reason for male infertility.

The best way to treat male infertility will be different for everyone. Obviously, preventative measures such as moderating drug, tobacco, and alcohol abuse, avoiding working with toxic or radioactive materials, using protection, and limiting sexual partners. Other solutions will depend mostly on the cause- like treating ejaculation issues or a disease that is causing infertility. The vasectomized patients may consider the vasectomy reversal procedures to restore their fertility.

Robotic Vasectomy Reversal- The future of vasectomy reversal? | Minnesota

Vasectomy is the most effective method of male contraception, with an estimated 500,000 vasectomies per year and rising. Naturally, as divorce rates have been steadily increasing, there has been a corresponding increase demand for vasectomy reversals. This poses some challenges- while vasectomies have become increasingly simple, quick, cheap, and noninvasive with techniques such as no-scalpel vasectomy, vasectomy reversal is still a relatively complicated microsurgical procedure that requires time, skill, concentration, and money. To give you an idea, the opening of the vas deferens (the tube which carries sperm to the semen) is 0.1mm wide, about as wide as a human hair. Knowing that, it makes sense why vasectomy reversals are harder than vasectomies; it’s a lot easier to cut it in half than stitch it back together. That’s not to say vasectomy reversal isn’t effective as it is now. Patency rates (moving sperm) have risen from 5-30% to 85-90% today with the advent of microsurgical techniques.

How can it get better?

Of course, vasectomy reversals aren’t always perfect. As time goes on, the chance of pregnancy goes down considerably. Also, the procedure is time-consuming and highly dependant on a physician’s skill. Robotic surgery is an exciting alternative that could theoretically mean a higher patency rate if there are no other complicating factors. Robotic surgery also theoretically has several potential advantages:

Smaller incisions- Little robot arms are a lot smaller than a doctor’s hands. Also means less scarring.
Visualization- Robots mounted with cameras can give detailed magnified images that the eye could not resolve
Pain- Robotic surgery is usually less painful and likely to develop complications
Time- Robotic surgery has the potential to be much faster than hands.

What does the research say though?

There have been vasectomy reversals that have been performed using robotic-assisted vasectomy reversal, but so far it does not offer a lot of advantages. Studies have given different results, but on average, robotic-assisted vasectomy reversals take just as long and are equal in patency rates. With no significant advantages over a regular vasectomy reversal, it’s not worth it for most hospitals and doctors to spend a lot of money on expensive robotic-assisted surgery equipment. However, that doesn’t mean robotic-assisted vasectomy reversals should be discounted. The technology is still in its infancy; who knows where it might be in 20 years down the road. As robots and AI get more advanced, operating time, precision, and effectiveness should increase, and the physical role of the surgeon will go down- not just for vasectomy, but all surgical procedures. It’ll be a while before that happens though. Your best bet right now is the tried-and-true vasectomy reversal, done by your local human doctor.

Vasectomy and Sex Life | Minnesota

Vasectomy is undeniably the most effective long term birth control for men, with half a million men undergoing the procedure in America every year, but some remain hesitant despite being assured of its safety and reliability. Faced with the idea of being infertile, the vasectomy can be a daunting proposition to many men. Fertility and sexual virility is heavily tied with the masculine identity, and to some vasectomy may be equivalent to surrendering some of it. Here’s why you shouldn’t worry.

A fear of many men looking to get a vasectomy is the loss of sexual desire or satisfaction after getting snipped. What many people don’t seem to realize is that vasectomy rarely affects sexual pleasure physically- when men suffer erectile dysfunction or loss of sexual arousal after vasectomy, it is almost always psychological. Physically, vasectomy should not affect libido- vasectomy is simply the severance and obstruction of the vas deferens. Besides the semen containing no semen, there should be no difference in sexual function after a vasectomy. Of course, complications exist but with innovations such as no-scalpel vasectomy making the procedure increasingly less invasive, they are incredibly rare.

Getting a vasectomy shouldn’t be seen as losing your manhood. Most men who are nervous about losing their manhood quickly realize that their sex is just as good as it was before, if not better. A study done on the effects of vasectomies on the sex lives of couples proved just that. In the study, a sample of 76 heterosexual couples were given a survey, one for the man and one for the woman, which score parameters such as sexual desire, coital satisfaction, erectile function, etc, before and after the procedure and the results were very interesting!

In men, scores on the questionnaire revealed that quality of the sex was about the same before and after the procedure. Erectile function, orasm function, sexual desire, sexual satisfaction all either increased a slight amount or stayed level. The result, though unsurprising, should put some potential patients at ease. What was much more interesting was that in women, scores were higher in almost all areas, showing significant increase in sexual desire, arousal, lubrication, orgasm, and overall satisfaction. Women in relationships tend to be more satisfied sexually after their partner gets a vasectomy. This is further evidence that most issues with sex after vasectomy are psychological rather than physical.

Another study examined the relationship between vasectomy and frequency of sexual intercourse in populations of vasectomized and non-vasectomized men. The results also seemed to support that sex is better after vasectomy- vasectomized men had sex an average of 5.9 times a month compared to 4.9 times per month in non vasectomized men. Furthermore, vasectomized men were 81% more likely to have at least once a week.

So if the idea of losing sexual potency after a vasectomy scares you, don’t be- there’s really nothing to worry about. Studies have shown that vasectomy either has no effect or increases sexual satisfaction, and that vasectomy actually increases the frequency of intercourse.

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