Letters to the Editor

Evaluating Vasal Occlusion Methods for Vasectomy


Am Fam Physician. 2008 Sep 15;78(6):697.

Original Article: Vasectomy: An Update

Issue Date: December 15, 2006

Available at: https://www.aafp.org/afp/20061215/2069.htm

to the editor: The review article on vasectomy discusses the relative failure rates with various methods of occluding the vas deferens. Figure 1 illustrates how the vasal occlusion methods for vasectomy are performed. Careful examination of the ligation and fascial interposition method in this figure shows that the suture placed to do the fascial interposition forms a pursestring around the vas deferens itself. In practice, this will likely be tied too loosely and allow the vasal end to slip back inside the sheath, or tied too tightly and strangulate the vasal end, with both resulting in lack of fascial interposition. I suspect this accounts for the extraordinarily high rate of failure with this method. No vasectomist should accept a 16.7 percent failure rate. All vasal occlusion methods that place a ligature around the vas deferens will cause necrosis of the end, leading to a failure of occlusion and an unacceptably high rate of failure.

Many years ago, the late Stan Schmidt developed the intraluminal thermal cautery and fascial interposition method of vasal occlusion.1 This method of vasal occlusion had a 0 percent failure rate when he performed it;2 other authors have reported a less than 1 percent failure rate with this method.3 This is the preferred method of vasal occlusion, and I have reported details of how to incorporate this into No-scalpel vasectomy.4 I cannot fathom why a vasectomist would use any other method of vasal occlusion.

E-mail: ron.reynolds@uc.edu

Author disclosure: Nothing to disclose.


show all references

1. Schmidt SS. Prevention of failure in vasectomy. J Urol. 1973;109(2):296–297....

2. Schmidt SS. Vasectomy. JAMA. 1988;259(21):3176.

3. Esho JO, Cass AS. Recanalization rate following methods of vasectomy using interposition of fascial sheath of vas deferens. J Urol. 1978;120(2):178–179.

4. Reynolds RD. Vas deferens occlusion during no-scalpel vasectomy. J Fam Pract. 1994;39(6):577–582.

editor's note: This letter was sent to the authors of “Vasectomy: An Update,” who declined to reply.


Send letters to afplet@aafp.org, or 11400 Tomahawk Creek Pkwy., Leawood, KS 66211-2680. Include your complete address, e-mail address, and telephone number. Letters should be fewer than 400 words and limited to six references, one table or figure, and three authors.

Letters submitted for publication in AFP must not be submitted to any other publication. Possible conflicts of interest must be disclosed at time of submission. Submission of a letter will be construed as granting the AAFP permission to publish the letter in any of its publications in any form. The editors may edit letters to meet style and space requirements.

This series is coordinated by Kenny Lin, MD, MPH, Associate Deputy Editor for AFP Online.



Copyright © 2008 by the American Academy of Family Physicians.
This content is owned by the AAFP. A person viewing it online may make one printout of the material and may use that printout only for his or her personal, non-commercial reference. This material may not otherwise be downloaded, copied, printed, stored, transmitted or reproduced in any medium, whether now known or later invented, except as authorized in writing by the AAFP. Contact afpserv@aafp.org for copyright questions and/or permission requests.

Want to use this article elsewhere? Get Permissions


May 2022

Access the latest issue of American Family Physician

Read the Issue

Email Alerts

Don't miss a single issue. Sign up for the free AFP email table of contents.

Sign Up Now

Navigate this Article