What it’s like to get a vasectomy

January 18, 2008 | By | 6 Replies More

Michael Lewis recounts his harrowing personal medical journey in Slate.  It was difficult for me to read this account without cringing. 

Then again (without getting too revealing), I know someone very close to me who had a vasectomy and it wasn’t as unnerving as the one Lewis describes.  Perhaps it was because, in the case I’m describing, the patient chose general anesthesia . . .

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About the Author ()

Erich Vieth is an attorney focusing on consumer law litigation and appellate practice. He is also a working musician and a writer, having founded Dangerous Intersection in 2006. Erich lives in the Shaw Neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, where he lives half-time with his two extraordinary daughters.

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  1. TJ says:

    Michael Lewis is a wimp. Unwanted pregnancy is a bitch. When a couple decide together that they are done having children, then the man should get the vasectomy. It's a simple out-patient procedure. (Michael Lewis drove himself home, for crying out loud!) It may leave a tiny scar, but honestly, could you *find* the scar amid all the normal wrinkly skin in the area? Tubal ligation is major abdominal surgery that requires a hospital stay and leaves a real scar.

    And if someone thinks they aren't a real man because they got a vasectomy, then they must be either terribly insecure, or not at all familiar with the biology of the situation. Everything still works, you need a microscope to tell the difference in your, um, "output", and you can be done with pills and condoms.

    Sure, there are risks to surgery, but the risks of a vasectomy are less than the risks of tubal ligation. If you need to prove you are a real man, getting a vasectomy is the way to go–what kind of wimp ask his wife to take on a bigger risk and more pain (especially after she's already gone through child birth!) so he won't have to?

    As for the general anesthesia, that's not a bad idea. Or at least some valium (if your doctor approves)–deciding to do the right thing and being unnerved at the scalpel approaching your privates are not mutually exclusive.

  2. The worst part of my vasectomy was that it was attended by two very young, very cute female med students and the antiseptic solution that they swabbed the area with is VERY COLD!

  3. Funny article. 😀

    I happened to be reading today about this guy who researched waterboarding with him as his own guinea pig. He seemed to be a tough guy and described the first levels as not as bad as vasectomy or doing a root canal. I also knew people who talked about their experience with getting a root canal done and it must be awful. That's when I realized that vasectomy must be something nasty. It's a good thing it's for you guys. 😀

  4. Pat Whalen says:

    Wasn't a deal. Tenderness afterward was an annoyance but that lasted for only a few days. I understand there are better processes that are not legal in the U.S.

  5. PR says:

    I can see that he's writing with the intent of being humorous. And he's owning up to his fears, making them public and making fun of himself.

    It's also true that it would be a shame for someone to not have this incredibly simple procedure because this article addressed only that fear.

    Note that he had the procedure, despite his fears.

    And keep in mind how easy this is compared with unwanted pregnancy and the complications women can face from taking the pill for several years. When my girlfriend had an abnormal pap smear and her docter started talking about biopsies it made me realized how selfish I was being. The pill greatly increases a woman's chances of getting cancer. It made for a quick decision.

    It's not right for men to not share the responsibility for birth control. Birth control pills must be a powerful drug to stop a woman's menstrual cycle. I don't want someone I love to be manipulating their physiology in that way. And I don't want to put her at risk of developing cancer.

  6. JL says:

    To you all who claim that guys are wimps for weining out of a snip-job, just remember that one of the functions of ejaculation is to purge the body of natural toxins. Granted, the amount may be small, but once you're snipped, guess where those toxins go? They are absorbed right back into your body.

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