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Comparison of Marie Stopes scalpel and electrocautery no-scalpel vasectomy techniques
  1. Timothy Black, MRCP, MFFP, Chief Executive1 and
  2. Colin Francome, MA, PhD, Emeritus Professor of the Sociology of Health2
  1. Marie Stopes International, London, UK
  2. Middlesex University, London, UK and Editor of the Middlesex University Press Health Series
  1. Correspondence Dr T Black, Chief Executive, Marie Stopes International, 153–157 Cleveland Street, London W1T 6QW, UK. Fax: +44 (0) 1403 891523. E-mail: timblack{at}


Objective To compare the intra-operative experience and postoperative sequelae between the standard Marie Stopes scalpel vasectomy procedure and electrocautery non-scalpel vasectomy (ENSV) techniques.

Design Randomised prospective comparative study.

Setting Marie Stopes vasectomy centres in the UK.

Participants A total of 325 men undergoing vasectomy between January and June 1999.

Intervention Random allocation to the two study arms plus questionnaires at 4 and 14 weeks postoperatively.

Main outcome measures Ease and speed of the procedure; pain levels during and after the procedure; early postoperative complications and time taken to return to work and sexual activity.

Results The ENSV technique was marginally quicker to perform. Pain levels intra-operatively were comparable. Response rates to the questionnaire were 84.6% and 37% at 4 and 14 weeks, respectively. The ENSV group experienced less pain and bleeding from the wound postoperatively and were quicker to heal. For men who experienced postoperative problems, the time taken to return to work was marginally better in the ENSV group. The time taken to return to sexual activity was marginally faster in the ENSV group.

Conclusion The ENSV procedure appears to be suitable for mass application in locations where electricity is available.

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