21 Sep 2018

    This Bloke Got A Vasectomy And Wants You To Know It's Fine Unless You're A Sook

    His surgeon said most men think it hurts a lot more than it actually does.

    Melbourne construction worker Scott Richardson loves his kids but decided this year it was time for a vasectomy.

    Kylie Richardson/Supplied

    Scott and Kylie Richardson with their three children.

    "We've got three and we don't need anymore," the 43-year-old told BuzzFeed News.

    A vasectomy is a minor surgery in which the tubes that carry the sperm from the testicles to the penis are snipped, tied or clipped.

    It cost Richardson $660.

    Kylie Richardson/Supplied

    "It is a hell of a lot cheaper than another kid," he said.

    Richardson also paid the extra $60 for a twilight sedation so he wasn't awake for the operation.

    "They just tell you to pop your head up so you don't snore, stick a needle in your hand and then get on with it," he said.

    "My boss had his when he was awake and it doesn't sound like the most pleasant experience.

    "I just went under for 20 minutes and Bob's your uncle."

    Kylie Richardson/Supplied

    Scott Richardson before his operation.

    Richardson's surgeon Justin Low, of Marie Stopes Australia, said there were two main misconceptions his patients had about vasectomies.

    "Some still have this idea that it is going to affect their masculinity and their manhood, like somehow if you're not shooting live ones that they're not real men and that'll affect their libido and sex drive," Low told BuzzFeed News.

    "It has obviously been very well proven that it doesn't affect any of that and the only thing going [into and out of] the tube is the sperm which actually only makes up about 2% of the volume of an ejaculation."

    Low cited 2015 research from Stanford University in the United States that showed men who have undergone a vasectomy actually have sex more frequently than their non-vasectomised counterparts.

    He also referred to a study from Frankfurt University in Germany which found men who’d gotten vasectomies also reported improved sexual satisfaction.

    Kylie Richardson/Supplied

    Scott Richardson after his operation.

    "I think maybe once you realise you're shooting blanks and don't have to use condoms it is like stress-free sex," Low said.

    The other main misconception, he said, was that the operation and recovery were painful.

    "The reality is all guys have at one stage copped one in the balls and they think it is going to be like that but it is a tiny needle in a tiny bit of skin that isn't any more sensitive than say your arm," he said.

    "I had 10 cases in one day last week and eight people didn't feel the needle at all. I've had a few guys falling asleep and snoring just with a local anaesthetic."

    Surgeons go through the scrotum either using a scalpel, or using the no-scalpel or "Li technique", developed in 1974 by Chinese physician Dr. Li Shunqiang, which involves special pointed forceps.

    Low practices the no-scalpel or "keyhole" vasectomy which makes around a four millimetre hole, because he said there were less side effects such as bleeding and infection.

    "I describe it to guys by saying if you had a hessian sack and you want to make a hole in it you can either get a Stanley knife and cut across the fibres or get pointy nose pliers and find a hole and get a diamond shaped hole, which is what I do with the vasectomy to preserve the nerves and arteries in the skin."

    The tubes are then cut and then sealed with a stitch or using diathermy (heat).

    "I used an open-ended technique where we cut the [vas deferens tube] and we seal one end but we don't tie, clip or seal the end connected back to the testes," Low said. "We cut it clean with scissors and leave it completely open so sperm is going to escape to the inside of the scrotum in small quantities, dies off and gets reabsorbed every few days for the rest of his life."

    Low said the "older technique" of tying both ends of the tube created "back pressure in the system" and some surgeons felt it caused an aching "blue ball" feeling in patients.

    Richardson's procedure took about 40 minutes.

    When he awoke he said the pain was about a two on a one to 10 scale.

    Kylie Richardson

    "It was pretty much painless afterwards, unless you're a real big sook, [then] it might be painful," he said.

    He then went home to watch Netflix with his kids. He put an ice pack on the area for 20 minutes every few hours.

    Richardson's wife Kylie said she had given birth to three children and it was her husband's turn to "take one for the team".

    "We wanted something long term and it was the safest option in regards to permanent contraception because for me to have tubal ligation was more of a surgical risk and a longer recovery time," the 38-year-old told BuzzFeed News.

    She was impressed at how short the recovery time was.

    Kylie Richardson/Supplied

    The stubby holder Scott Richardson was given after his vasectomy.

    "I thought he'd complain like when he has man flu, but he only took Panadol because I told him to," she said.

    "The kids thought it was very funny that 'dad had his balls chopped off'."

    Gina Rushton is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Sydney.

    Contact Gina Rushton at gina.rushton@buzzfeed.com.

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