A vasectomy is a simple procedure that can be performed in a doctor's office in as little as 15 to 30 minutes. It requires only local anesthetic, and typically has few complications. However, for patients with anxiety or a difficult scrotal examination, vasectomy can also be performed under sedation. The procedure should be conducted by a board-certified urologic surgeon, also known as a urologist. (Urologists are surgeons who specialize in the genitourinary tract, which includes the kidneys, bladder, and genitals).
Here are some suggestions to help find a qualified surgeon who can perform vasectomies.
Compiling information on urologists
There are a multitude of sources that offer information on vasectomy surgeons in a patient's area. These include:
- Your insurance company: If the patient currently has health insurance, they can consult their carrier for a list of surgeons who participate in their health plan. Most insurers cover the procedure and will be able to provide them with a list of urologists or family practitioners in their area.
- Your primary-care doctor: Primary care physicians often refer their patients to specialists, and should have a list of qualified professionals who perform this procedure in the patient's area.
- Your local hospital: Although a patient won't necessarily have their vasectomy performed in a hospital, urologists who perform them often split their time between hospitals and clinics, so hospital administrators should be able to provide the patient with a list of the ones they work with.
- Friends and family: If the patient knows anyone who has had a vasectomy or a vasectomy reversal, ask them about their experience with that particular urologist. This information may be more in-depth, and can also provide the patient with a better understanding of what to expect.
Check urologists' credentials
Once a number of urologists who can perform the procedure have been identified, dig deeper to find out more about them. In particular, consult medical directories, such as the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS). This organization will allow the patient to verify that the urologic surgeon is board-certified and allowed to provide service in their state. Additionally, contact state or local medical societies to better assess the surgeon's level of experience. These organizations can provide general information about surgeons in the patient's state, including the number of years they have been practicing and the number of procedures they have performed. Finally, verify the surgeon's hospital appointments--these are usually offered to surgeons who are highly qualified in their area of expertise.
Other practical considerations when choosing a urologist
While credentials and experience are important to consider, there are also practical issues to take into account. In particular, the patient may want to consider:
- Location and convenience: Everything from location to availability to office hours can affect the patient's ability to make it to an appointment on time.
- Language: Effective communication is important for optimal healthcare, so it makes sense to select a doctor with whom the patient can easily communicate.
- Intangibles: How the patient is treated on the phone, the cleanliness of the office, attitudes of the staff, and other less-tangible measurements should also influence the decision when selecting a vasectomy surgeon.
Find a board-certified urologist
Vasectomy.com has an extensive directory of vasectomy and vasectomy reversal surgeons from all over the United States. Find a board-certified urologist by searching our directory.
Reviewed December 11, 2012, by Karen Elizabeth Boyle, MD - Urologist
Graham, S.D., & Keane, T.E. (2009). Glenn's urologic surgery. Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott Williams and Wilkins.
Sharlip, I.D., Belker, A.M., Hoing, S., Labrecque, M., Marmar, J.L., Ross, L.S., et al. (2012). Vasectomy: AUA guideline. American Urological Association.