Objectives: Recent conflicting findings on possible health risks related to vasectomy have underscored the need for reliable and representative estimates of numbers and rates of vasectomies in the United States. The purpose of this study was to estimate the annual US number, rate, and characteristics of vasectomies in 1991.
Methods: A national survey of urology, general surgery, and family practice physician practices was conducted with probability sampling methods (n = 1685 physicians).
Results: An estimated 493,487 (95% confidence interval = 450,480, 536,494) vasectomies were performed in 1991, for a rate of 10.3 procedures per 1000 men aged 25 through 49 years. Most vasectomies were performed by urologists, and most were done in physicians' offices with local anesthesia and ligation as the method of occlusion. The rate of vasectomies was highest in the Midwest.
Conclusions: This survey provides the first national estimates of the number and rate of vasectomies in the United States, as well as the first estimates of occlusion method used. Results confirm previous findings that urologists perform most vasectomies and that most vasectomies are performed with local anesthesia. Recommendations include the monitoring of vasectomy numbers and rates as well as demographic studies of men obtaining vasectomies.