Monthly Archives: August 2018

A Brief History of the Eugenics Movement in America | Minneapolis & St. Paul

If you haven’t heard of eugenics (meaning “well-born”), it is the study of or belief in societal and scientific intervention to bring about the “fittest” population through means such as forced sterilization, abortions, euthanasia and discriminatory marriage laws. The movement’s intent was to improve the quality of the human population by discouraging reproduction by people with genetic defects or what were thought to be inheritable undesired traits.

The origin of eugenics in the United States began in 1899 with Albert Ochsner, future Professor of Surgery at the University of Illinois. In his published paper Surgical Treatment of Habitual Criminals, Ochsner described a new procedure that sterilized a male subject by cutting his vas deferens, a procedure that became known as a vasectomy. He advocated for the use of vasectomies on criminals, believing that:

  • It would dispense with hereditary criminals from the father’s side
  • Aside from being sterile, the criminal would be unchanged (unlike after castration)
  • It would protect the community at large without harming the criminal
  • The height of the eugenics movement (1920s to mid-20th century) saw compulsory sterilization programs established in over 30 states, resulting in over 60,000 sterilizations of often healthy people. Criminals and prison inmates were especially targeted, as well as those deemed “feeble-minded,” mentally deficient, or simply capable of passing on undesirable genes.

    Planned Parenthood, a global reproductive health care provider, was actually a product of the eugenics movement. Its founder, Margaret Sanger, was a prominent eugenicist who argued that this “new weapon of civilization and freedom” could solve “race problems” and result in “racial regeneration.” This belief in ensuring “racial purity” typically involved laws that aimed to prevent interracial marriage, taking the concept of eugenics and population control another step further.

    If any of this sounds familiar, history’s most infamous admirer of America’s eugenics policies was Adolf Hitler, who modeled the Third Reich after American eugenic institutions. As he expressed in Mein Kampf, Hitler was determined to prevent “defective people” from “propagating equally defective offspring,” a mission that he firmly believed required a systematic execution. In response, the American Eugenics Society issued a statement of praise in 1937 to the Nazi scientists who hoped to cleanse the gene pool.


    What Exactly Is a Post-Vasectomy Scrotal Hematoma? | Minneapolis & St. Paul

    While a No-Scalpel Easy Vasectomy® is one of the safest procedures, there are still chances of minor complications, such as bleeding and infection. One potential post-surgery complication is a scrotal hematoma—a collection of blood inside the scrotum—and it occurs in approximately two to five percent of vasectomies.


    Scrotal hematomas typically occur within a few days following a vasectomy procedure. They’re often accompanied by swelling, bruising and pain around the scrotum. The severity of one’s symptoms mainly depends on the size of the hematoma: a small hematoma may not have any symptoms at all or simply cause minimal swelling and discomfort, while a larger hematoma can result in extensive bruising and severe pain. After the swelling reduces, a hematoma generally feels like a hard lump in the scrotum.


    If you experience post-vasectomy discomfort such as significant bruising, swelling and unexpectedly intense pain, you may have developed a scrotal hematoma and will need to see your doctor immediately.

    Depending on size, hematomas may gradually resolve on their own after a few weeks, and symptoms should diminish as the hematoma shrinks. Your doctor may recommend pain medications, a scrotal supporter, and hot baths to alleviate discomfort and speed up recovery. Surgical intervention may be necessary in cases of very large hematomas or arterial hematomas.


    While it’s impossible to completely eliminate the risk of developing a hematoma after your vasectomy, there are two crucial factors that can potentially help minimize the odds of it occurring.

    Firstly, experience matters. In general, the more vasectomy operations a doctor has performed, the lower the chance of patients developing hematomas. One study found that “the incidence of hematomas was 4.6 percent for physicians performing 1–10 vasectomies annually, 2.4 percent for those performing 11–50 annually, and 1.6 percent for those performing >50 annually.”

    Secondly, the no-scalpel vasectomy technique offers a number of benefits over the traditional vasectomy method, one of those being a lower risk of developing a post-vasectomy hematoma.


    Dr. Steven Shu Launches Surgeon Volunteers, Aims to Bring Medical Relief to Haiti and Cambodia

    MINNEAPOLIS, Minnesota — Dr. Steven Shu, founder of Medical Volunteers International (MVI), has started a second international medical mission group, focusing on underserved communities in Haiti and Cambodia. Called Surgeon Volunteers, the non-profit, US-based group recruits highly-skilled medical professionals from around the world to deliver affordable, accessible health care to third world countries.

    Officially launching this year, Surgeon Volunteers plans to complete its first two mission trips to Cap Haitien, Haiti, in December and Phnom Penh, Cambodia in January 2019. Consisting of cosmetic surgeon, orthopedic surgeon, general surgeons and urologists, the volunteer organization will perform hernia repairs, hydrocele repairs, vasectomies, breast surgeries, hemorrhoidectomy, skin surgeries, varicose vein removal and various other surgical procedures.

    Requiring very few resources to complete its surgeries, Surgeon Volunteers will not only deliver safe and effective care, but also efficient care. “Because these procedures are done under local anesthesia or regional nerve blocking, we only need basic facilities and resources,” Dr. Shu explains.

    Dr. Shu, MD, MBA, is a cosmetic surgeon and proceduralist and founder of MVI and Surgeon Volunteers. Since joining No-Scalpel Vasectomy International, Inc (NSVI), an international medical volunteer organization led by urologists Dr. Doug Stein and Dr. Ramon Suarez, in 2014, Dr. Shu has completed six mission trips to Haiti and the Philippines.

    Surgeon Volunteers is set to carry out several mission trips to Haiti in the following years, as well as an annual mission trip to Cambodia starting January 2019.


    Here’s Why Using Birth Control After a Vasectomy Is Crucial | Minnesota

    Being told to use contraception after undergoing a (hopefully successful) vasectomy may seem counterintuitive, but the patient is NOT completely sterile immediately following the procedure. A series of follow-up tests is required to first confirm that sperm are no longer present in the patient’s semen, a process that can take many weeks. There is also the chance that the vasectomy procedure failed. In either case, patients must err on the side of caution and use birth control during intercourse in the first three months following a vasectomy.

    How a Vasectomy Affects Sperm Travel

    Before joining the semen, sperm must first make their way through several tubes, including the two vas deferens. Both vas deferens—one attached to each testicle—are cut during a vasectomy procedure, preventing new sperm made in the testicles from traveling through the vas deferens and being ejaculated.

    Despite the vas deferens being severed, leftover sperm may still remain in the upper part of the vas deferens near the penis. It may take anywhere from 15 to 30 ejaculations before all the leftover sperm are cleared from the tubes, and it’s not uncommon for patients to wait at least three months before becoming completely or nearly sterile. Therefore, it’s important to use birth control during intercourse until your doctor confirms that you are, indeed, free of motile sperm.

    What to Expect From Follow-Up Testing

    Your doctor will test your semen approximately 12 weeks after your vasectomy to examine for presence of motile sperm. If test results show that your semen is sperm-free, then the vasectomy was successful, and additional birth control will no longer be necessary. Some patients’ semen may show a small number of non-motile sperm, whereby the risk of pregnancy is very low, and additional birth control may not be needed.

    If follow-up testing shows that sperm are still present in your semen, your doctor will talk to you about your options. This may include further testing, in which case you will need to use some form of contraception during intercourse until you receive the green light that you’re sperm-free. Your doctor may also decide that the chance of pregnancy is low enough that birth control is no longer necessary.

    Yes, A Vasectomy Can Fail

    While the failure rate of vasectomies is extremely low, there is still a chance that the procedure fails to make you sterile. A vasectomy failure essentially means that sperm continue to be present in the semen after a notable amount of time has passed following the procedure. This can be due to sperm that existed pre-surgery, or the severed ends of the vas deferens rejoined to form a complete tube (recanalization) and resulted in an increased count of motile sperm.

    If a vasectomy fails, patients can either undergo another vasectomy or continue using a different form of contraception.


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