Vasectomy message boards…are they helpful? Well…yes and no.

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Online themes focus on relaying personal experience or to obtain information on expectations after vasectomy.

I was told by a lawn management consultant that the soccer field I was trying to improve was of the “Heinz 57” variety. In other words a mixture of many types of grass and weeds. Decision making in medicine, and having a vasectomy and who will do it,  is often the result of the accumulation of a hodgepodge of information.

I have told my prostate caner patients for years to learn from the internet, friends, family, books and yes…wait for it…your doctor to arrive at a decision about your medical care that is best for you. Getting a vasectomy is no different. So…take what you get from others, all others, with a proverbial grain of salt!  J.M.

Background: Patients are increasingly utilizing the internet to gain knowledge and information about disease states and treatments.

Objective: To identify common themes and usages of online message boards focused on vasectomy.

Design: Review of online content from patients.

Methods: Using the search term “vasectomy,” internet discussion boards were identified. The 3 discussion boards with the most posts were selected for investigation. An iterative and structured analysis process was undertaken to determine common themes.

Results: 129 posts from the 3 message boards were examined. The 2 most common topics were changes in sexual function after vasectomy and pain after vasectomy. Changes in sexual function included a variety of concerns including unexpected genital or sexual issues arising after vasectomy. Declines in sexual drive, erection quality, and orgasmic or ejaculatory changes were described. Posts relating to pain around vasectomy discussed concerns related to a “normal” amount of postprocedural pain or how to manage pain after vasectomy. Other topics included planning for postvasectomy care, potential issues after vasectomy, and feelings about a vasectomy. Overall, online content roughly divided into 2 uses – sharing personal experiences regarding vasectomy and to get information about what to expect, and how to manage issues that may arise after vasectomy. Medical provider input was not seen, and while some factual content was identified, personal opinion was more common.

Conclusions: Internet message boards on vasectomy focus on information exchange and personal experience. Factual content is limited, and medical provider input is uncommon.

Reviewer’s Comments: This is an interesting study that analyzes how men use the internet to discuss vasectomy. I am generally positive on patients using the internet to gain a functional knowledge of medical conditions if they are open to additional education during our visit. The use here of patients being able to relate to other men either before or after their vasectomy is a benefit as this personal type of interaction is not part of the usual patient-physician interaction. Online message board content is of course subject to the patients who decide to post and may be skewed by patients with poor outcomes. The aforesaid findings can potentially help providers counsel patients on expectations after vasectomy.(Reviewer–Charles Welliver, MD).

Article Reviewed: A Thematic Analysis of Online Discussion Boards for Vasectomy. Samplaski MK: Urology; 2018;111 (January): 32-38.

Vasectomy vs. tubal ligation-Which is more common?

The prevalence of vasectomy was 6.6% (compared with a tubal ligation prevalence of 16.35%).

Many factors, including social, medical, and unknown reasons, contribute to the decision of a couple to proceed with one form or another of surgical sterilization.

Objective: To describe the demographics and family planning attitudes of vasectomized men.

Design: Retrospective cohort analysis of National Survey for Family Growth data collected through the National Center for Health Statistics between June 2006 and June 2010.

Methods: The survey sampled 10,403 men from various urban and rural communities, aged 15 to 45 years, regarding family planning attitudes. These sampled statistics could be extrapolated to provide a reasonably accurate national survey portrait.

Results: The prevalence of vasectomy was 6.6% (compared with a tubal ligation prevalence of 16.35%). The odds ratios (OR) for having a vasectomy in this sample were: currently married 7.8; previously married 5.8; and increased age 1.1. The odds increased with increased number of biologic children. Examples of factors decreasing the odds of having a vasectomy were: immigrant status (OR 0.18); African American (OR 0.22); Hispanic (OR 0.054); or Catholic (OR 0.55). Also, this survey determined that 19.6% of vasectomized men expressed a desire for future children suggesting a higher than previously recognized prevalence of sterilization regret; yet only 1.9% of vasectomized men in the sample reported having a reversal.

Conclusions: Many factors, some social, some medical, some unknown, contribute to the decision of a couple to proceed with one form or another of surgical sterilization.

Reviewer’s Comments: As pointed out in this article, there are many factors that contribute to the decision to cease further childbearing. A permanent sterilization procedure is a popular choice, particularly among married couples. The demographic factors that tilt a couple towards tubal ligation or vasectomy are explored in this article, and the data promote lively speculation.(Reviewer–Berel Held, MD).

Article Reviewed: Vasectomy Demographics and Postvasectomy Desire for Future Children: Results From a Contemporary National Survey. Sharma V, Le BV, et al: Fertil Steril; 2013;99 (June): 1880-1885.

Did you know? Dr. McHugh is in Top 5% of urologists performing vasectomies in the U.S.

From Amino, Inc.

How does Amino determine Dr. McHugh’s vasectomy experience?

To give you an overview of Dr. McHugh’s practice experience, we show you how his practice compares to other doctors nationwide.

To determine Dr. McHugh’s experience treating vasectomy patients, we use our database of over 9 billion doctor-patient interactions. In our database, we look at every doctor who is a family practitioner, urologist, or surgeon, because these are the specialties that our data shows are most likely to treat vasectomy patients.

From this group of doctors, we rank doctors nationwide by the number of vasectomy patients they treated from 2014–2018. We give Dr. McHugh a badge if we have enough data to determine that he is among the top-ranked doctors for vasectomy, meaning he sees a lot of vasectomy patients compared to other doctors.

For vasectomy, Dr. McHugh has a top 5% badge, because he treated more vasectomy patients than 95% of similar doctors nationwide for 2014–2018.

We determine which of Dr. McHugh’s patients receive vasectomy by looking at the medical billing codes that appear on the electronic health insurance claims from their interactions with Dr. McHugh. Because there are tens of thousands of unique medical billing codes used to describe different types of health care interactions, Amino groups billing codes that describe similar health conditions or services into a single category that we display on our website with a user-friendly name (e.g. “diabetes”, “asthma”, “knee replacement”).

We count each distinct patient only once for any given reason for visit, but the same patient may be counted toward multiple reasons for visit if Dr. McHugh treated that patient for multiple reasons.