Vasectomy occlusion techniques for male sterilization

Cochrane Review by Cook LAA, Van Vliet HHAAM, Lopez LM, Pun A, Gallo MF

This record should be cited as: Cook LAA, Van Vliet HHAAM, Lopez LM, Pun A, Gallo MF. Vasectomy occlusion techniques for male sterilization. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2007, Issue 2. Art.No.: CD003991. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD003991.pub3.

ABSTRACT

Title

Vasectomy occlusion techniques for male sterilization

Background

Vasectomy is an increasingly popular and effective family planning method. A variety of vasectomy techniques are used worldwide, including various vas occlusion techniques (excision and ligation, thermal or electrocautery, and mechanical and chemical occlusion methods), as well as vasectomy with vas irrigation or with fascial interposition. Vasectomy guidelines largely rely on information from observational studies. Ideally, the choice of vasectomy techniques should be based on the best available evidence from randomized controlled trials.

Objectives

The objective of this review was to compare the effectiveness, safety, acceptability and costs of vasectomy techniques for male sterilization.

Search strategy

We searched the computerized databases of CENTRAL, MEDLINE, EMBASE, POPLINE and LILACS. In addition, we searched the reference lists of relevant articles and book chapters.

Selection criteria

We included randomized controlled trials comparing vasectomy techniques.

Data collection and analysis

We assessed all titles and abstracts located in the literature searches. Two reviewers independently extracted data from articles identified for inclusion. Outcome measures include contraceptive efficacy, safety, discontinuation, and acceptability.

Main results

Six studies met the inclusion criteria. One trial compared vas occlusion with clips versus a conventional vasectomy technique. No difference was found in failure to reach azoospermia. Three trials examined vasectomy with vas irrigation. Two studies looked at irrigation with water versus no irrigation, while one examined irrigation with water versus the spermicide euflavine. None found a difference between the groups for time to azoospermia. However, one trial reported that the median number of ejaculations to azoospermia was lower in the euflavine group compared to the water irrigation group. One high-quality trial compared vasectomy with fascial interposition versus vasectomy without fascial interposition. The fascial interposition group was less likely to have vasectomy failure. Fascial interposition had more surgical difficulties, but the groups were similar in side effects. Lastly, one trial found that an intra-vas was less likely to produce azoospermia than was no-scalpel vasectomy. More men were satisfied with the intra-vas device, however.

Authors' conclusions

For vas occlusion with clips or vasectomy with vas irrigation, no conclusions can be made as those studies were of low quality and underpowered. Fascial interposition reduced vasectomy failure. An intra-vas device was less effective in reducing sperm count than was no-scalpel vasectomy. Randomized controlled trials examining other vasectomy techniques were not available. More and better quality research is needed to examine vasectomy techniques.

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