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What is a No Scalpel Vasectomy?

Tricia Christensen
Updated May 17, 2024
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The no scalpel vasectomy is a permanent sterility process for males, which is often much preferred because it is a slightly less invasive procedure. Vasectomies have been performed for many decades, but the no scalpel variant wasn’t developed until 1974, by the Chinese physician, Shunqiang Li. It took about ten years for other countries to adopt this method, and in places like the US, the first vasectomies of this type didn’t take place until the mid-80s. Presently, they are very popular in many countries because they may minimize risk of bleeding and infection, and reduce recovery time. They can often be performed in a doctor’s office with a small amount of local anesthesia.

Presently, any vasectomy has to access the inside of the scrotum so that the vas deferens can be cut and cauterized, thus blocking sperm from traveling from the testicles. For a long time, access to the vas deferens was achieved with a couple of small scalpel cuts. Dr. Shunqiang Li proved that even a small incision wasn’t necessary. Instead, he used a tiny instrument that punctured the scrotum, and that could be used with other instruments to cut the tubes of the vas deferens. His no scalpel vasectomy case histories showed huge success with the procedure in China, and prompted doctors in other nations to adopt his methods.

There may be some slight variations in how the no scalpel vasectomy is performed or what tools are used. Usually the procedure is fairly uniform no matter who performs it. Since it does involve puncturing the skin and manipulating the vas deferens from the puncture site, it doesn’t mean that the surgery is without creating a small opening. Still, in many men, healing time is dramatically reduced since less trauma occurs to the scrotum.

As with any other form of vasectomy, the no scalpel vasectomy may cause some pain with recovery, and puncturing the scrotum does cause a small risk of bleeding and infection. It’s also very important to note that the procedure doesn’t immediately render men infertile. It can take several months for sperm that is already past the vas deferens to leave the body completely. Men need to give a couple of ejaculate samples to make certain the procedure has been successful and before they get the all clear to have sex without protection.

Deciding to have a no scalpel vasectomy requires thoughtful inquiry. Men should pick a doctor who is skilled in this procedure and who has lots of experience. Urologists may have the most experience, but some general physicians perform quite a few of these also.

Vasectomies of any type aren’t recommended for men who are very young, for those who feel ambivalent about the procedure, for men who are receiving one under pressure from others or in the hopes that they’ll eventually reverse the procedure. Reversal success rates aren’t high for any from of vasectomy. It is better not to have this permanent sterilization technique performed when men feel they may change their minds at a later point.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Tricia Christensen
By Tricia Christensen , Writer
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a WiseGeek contributor, Tricia Christensen is based in Northern California and brings a wealth of knowledge and passion to her writing. Her wide-ranging interests include reading, writing, medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion, all of which she incorporates into her informative articles. Tricia is currently working on her first novel.

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Tricia Christensen

Tricia Christensen


With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a WiseGeek contributor, Tricia...
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