A new "no-scalpel" technique for performing vasectomies has been introduced by the Association for Voluntary Surgical Contraception in hopes that it will make the sterilization procedure more attractive to men.
According to Dr. Marc Goldstein, the new procedure dispenses with the usual 1 1/2 -inch incision into the scrotum. Instead, the doctor uses his fingers to find the tube that carries male sperm, the vas deferens, within the scrotum. Once it is found, he makes a tiny puncture and pulls part of the tube out to tie it, cut it or cauterize it to prevent sperm flow.
Though the technique is somewhat more difficult, a report in American Medical News said, it takes less time and reduces the patient's exposure to side effects such as infection.
In 1987, some 640,000 women had tubal ligations while only about 336,000 men had vasectomies. Male sterilization is regarded by doctors as safer, quicker, cheaper and easier to reverse than the female procedure.