March Madness, the Masters brings increase in vasectomy procedures

More men are scheduling vasectomies around popular sporting events that coincide with their recovery.

vasectomy webMany schedule the procedure when they can recover in front of the TV — guilt-free.Each spring, men strategically plan to watch seasonal, multiple-day sporting events like March Madness or the famed Masters Tournament. In recent years, many physicians across the country have noticed a convenient uptick in a particular male-centered surgery during the same time of year that’s a game-changer — the vasectomy.

“A vasectomy is a minimally invasive procedure that’s been proved to be a tremendously effective birth control method, with a less than 1 percent risk that the procedure is unsuccessful,” said Peter Kolettis, M.D., professor in the University of Alabama at Birmingham's Department of Urology. “Vasectomies have low risk of complications, and yield little pain for the patient, something that many couples find attractive as they explore permanent birth control options.”

During a vasectomy, the vas deferens is cut and sealed off from the testicle, preventing sperm from reaching semen. The outpatient procedure is simple, completed in just 20 minutes. Couples who opt to undergo a vasectomy need to be sure they are finished having children, as the process is a permanent one. Compared to tubal ligation or birth control pills for women, vasectomies can be more cost-effective, as the cost for a vasectomy is often covered by insurance.

A vasectomy requires a recovery period during which men stay off their feet for two to three days, ice the healing area every 30 minutes for the first 48 hours, and avoid lifting, straining, or physical and sexual activity for one week. As a result, it is not by chance that many men schedule the procedure during a time of year when it is convenient to follow doctor’s orders — a time when they can recover in front of the TV, guilt-free.

Ultimately, both men and women benefit from the procedure.

“The procedure is much less invasive and risky than sterilization for women,” Kolettis said. “Vasectomies do not impact sexual function whatsoever or cause other diseases, but rather, allow for less stress about the potential for unplanned pregnancies.”

Most men are cleared to return to office-type work on Monday if they have the procedure completed on a Friday. The first week of the 2018 March Madness offers 50 games, with the “First Four” play-in games March 13-14 and the first two rounds of NCAA Tournament games March 15-18. The 2018 Masters Tournament is April 5-8.