Robert Pugach, MD featured on KTLA, Channel 5 (Los Angeles, CA) . News segment on the remarkable No Needle No Scalpel Vasectomy. Interview with Health Reporter, Leila Feinstein
Three-decade old techniques and new ideas combine to create pain-free vasectomies. (November 18, 2009)
When it comes to permanent birth control, a woman is more than twice as likely as a man to have surgery. But female sterilization is much more complicated and dangerous than the comparable surgery in a man–a vasectomy. But what if a vasectomy was done with no needle, no scalpel, and no pain? It’s happening in southern California.
Orange County urologist Dr. Robert Pugach says the no-scalpel vasectomy isn’t new; it’s just new in the U.S.
“About 35 years ago the Chinese figured out how to do what’s called a no-scalpel vasectomy,” says Dr. Pugach. “And unfortunately it stayed there, and in a few other parts of the world. It’s taken a long time to come over here.”
During a vasectomy, the tubes that carry sperm to the penis are cut. In the no-scalpel version, instead of an incision to get to the tubes, doctors pull-apart the skin of the scrotum just three-sixteenths of an inch. Why doesn’t it hurt?
“What we added in North America was the no-needle part,” says Dr. Pugach. Instead of a needle filled with numbing agent, a small sprayer has made the difference. “The novacaine is in here and you just prime it and fire it. And that comes out so quickly, that it penetrates the skin. There is literally nothing sharp,” says Dr. Pugach. “If I put this on your skin your skin would go numb in a second.”
As patient David Hiveley waits for the procedure to start, he’s not sure he believes Dr. Pugach’s claims. “I think it’s natural to have some anxiety about things being done down in that area,” says David, a forty-five year old father of two, who with his wife, decided he would be the one to have surgery to prevent future pregnancies.
There is a flat-screen television on the ceiling above David in the procedure room. But Dr. Pugach says he won’t even get to finish his favorite program, since the procedure will be done before the show ends.
Fifteen minutes to prep the patient, fifteen minutes for the surgery, and we check back in with David, who appears to be in no pain whatsoever.
“It was not painful,” he tells us. “Amazingly enough. I was pleasantly surprised that it was nothing. You have these thoughts in your mind what it could be. I feel great.”
David is told to rest for the next two days, and then he can resume normal activities, including sex. When we checked back in with him a few days later, he said the recovery was uneventful, not painful, and that he has been able to resume all activities, except jogging.
The urologist who performed the no-needle, no-scalpel vasectomy on David, Dr. Robert Pugach, doesn’t just ‘talk the talk’. He’s had a no-scalpel, no-needle vasectomy too, performed by another urologist. If you are considering a vasectomy, make sure you are done having kids. The procedure is reversible in most cases, but it means more surgery.
Besides the pain, Dr. Pugach says many men are concerned a vasectomy will affect their sexual performance. Dr. Pugach says it will only affect performance for the better, since sex can now be more spontaneous.
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