Background: Simple ligation of the vas with suture material and excision of a small vas segment is believed to be the most common vasectomy occlusion technique performed in low-resource settings. Ligation and excision (LE) is associated with a risk of occlusion and contraceptive failure which can be reduced by performing fascial interposition (FI) along with LE. Combining FI with intra luminal thermal cautery could be even more effective. The objective of this study was to determine the surgical vasectomy techniques currently used in five Asian countries and to evaluate the facilitating and limiting factors to introduction and assessment of FI and thermal cautery in these countries.
Methods: Between December 2003 and February 2004, 3 to 6 major vasectomy centers from Cambodia, Thailand, India, Nepal, and Bangladesh were visited and interviews with 5 to 11 key informants in each country were conducted. Vasectomy techniques performed in each center were observed. Vasectomy techniques using hand-held, battery-driven cautery devices and FI were demonstrated and performed under supervision by local providers. Information about interest and open-mindedness regarding the use of thermal cautery and/or FI was gathered.
Results: The use of vasectomy was marginal in Thailand and Cambodia. In India, Nepal, and Bangladesh, vasectomy was supported by national reproductive health programs. Most vasectomies were performed using the No-Scalpel Vasectomy (NSV) technique and simple LE. The addition of FI to LE, although largely known, was seldom performed. The main reasons reported were: 1) insufficient surgical skills, 2) time needed to perform the technique, and 3) technique not being mandatory according to country standards. Thermal cautery devices for vasectomy were not available in any selected countries. Pilot hands-on assessment showed that the technique could be safely and effectively performed by Asian providers. However, in addition to provision of supplies, introducing cautery with FI could be associated with the same barriers encountered when introducing FI in combination with LE.
Conclusion: Further studies assessing the effectiveness, safety, and feasibility of implementation are needed before thermal cautery combined with FI is introduced in Asia on a large scale. Until thermal cautery is introduced in a country, vasectomy providers should practice LE with FI to maximize effectiveness of vasectomy procedure.