Purpose: We estimated the number of vasectomies performed in the United States in 2002 and gathered information on the vasectomy procedures and protocols used. It follows similar studies done in 1991 and 1995.
Materials and methods: A retrospective mail survey with telephone followup was performed in 2,300 urologists, family physicians and general surgeons randomly sampled from the American Medical Association Physician Masterfile.
Results: The response rate was 73.8%. An estimated 526,501 vasectomies were performed in 2002 for a rate of 10.2/1,000 men 25 to 49 years old. Overall 37.8% of physicians reported currently using no scalpel vasectomy and almost half of the vasectomies performed in 2002 were no scalpel vasectomies. Methods of vas occlusion varied in and among specialties with a combination of ligation and cautery being most common (41.0% of cases). Of the physicians 45.6% reported routinely performing fascial interposition, 94.4% reported removing a vas segment, 23.3% reported routinely folding back 1 or 2 ends of the vas and 7.5% reported using open-ended vasectomy. Followup protocols varied widely. Of respondents 53.5% reported charging $401 to $600 for vasectomy in 2002.
Conclusions: Although the estimated number of vasectomies performed in the United States during 2002 represents an increase from 1991 and 1995, incidence rates remained unchanged at approximately 10/1,000 men 25 to 49 years old. The percent of vasectomies performed using no scalpel vasectomy as well as the number of physicians who reported that they use no scalpel vasectomy increased substantially since 1995. Wide variation in surgical techniques and followup protocols were found.