Context: The European Association of Urology presents its guidelines for vasectomy. Vasectomy is highly effective, but problems can arise that are related to insufficient preoperative patient information, the surgical procedure, and postoperative follow-up.
Objective: These guidelines aim to provide information and recommendations for physicians who perform vasectomies and to promote the provision of adequate information to the patient before the operation to prevent unrealistic expectations and legal procedures.
Evidence acquisition: An extensive review of the literature was carried out using Medline, Embase, and the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews from 1980 to 2010. The focus was on randomised controlled trials (RCTs) and meta-analyses of RCTs (level 1 evidence) and on well-designed studies without randomisation (level 2 and 3 evidence). A total of 113 unique records were identified for consideration. Non-English language publications were excluded as well as studies published as abstracts only or reports from meetings.
Evidence synthesis: The guidelines discuss indications and contraindications for vasectomy, preoperative patient information and counselling, surgical techniques, postoperative care and subsequent semen analysis, and complications and late consequences.
Conclusions: Vasectomy is intended to be a permanent form of contraception. There are no absolute contraindications for vasectomy. Relative contraindications may be the absence of children, age <30 yr, severe illness, no current relationship, and scrotal pain. Preoperative counselling should include alternative methods of contraception, complication and failure rates, and the need for postoperative semen analysis. Informed consent should be obtained before the operation. Although the use of mucosal cautery and fascial interposition have been shown to reduce early failure compared to simple ligation and excision of a small vas segment, no robust data show that a particular vasectomy technique is superior in terms of prevention of late recanalisation and spontaneous pregnancy after vasectomy. After semen analysis, clearance can be given in case of documented azoospermia and in case of rare nonmotile spermatozoa in the ejaculate at least 3 mo after the procedure.
Copyright © 2011 European Association of Urology. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.