So the tube has been divided, leaving an upper end and a lower end. Do you now block the upper end, the lower end, or both? This is where things get a little convoluted. Dr Dick Beatty gets out the whiteboard with three scenarios:
You block the lower end, leaving the upper end open
The lower end is blocked, the sperm have ‘nowhere to go’, so this is called a closed vasectomy. ‘Closed Vasectomy’ means that the lower end is blocked.
The concern with closed vasectomy is that the sperm have ‘nowhere to go’ and may lead to discomfort caused by congestion.
You block both ends
Closed Vasectomy also results from blocking both the upper end and the lower ends and is the most common form of closed vasectomy. Heat in the form of electrocautery may be used on its own to seal tube (this is done before the tube is divided).
You can’t cauterise just one end and leave the other open, or the tubes have a 10% risk of growing back. When heat is used on its own, you therefore ‘have to’ seal both ends. In The UK, you get a closed vasectomy.
You block the upper end, leaving the lower end open
Sperm may be considered free to swim from the testicle, up the tube and through the open end. This scenario describes an ‘Open Vasectomy.’
We’ve just said that cautery of just one end does not work so what other method of occlusion is used in an open vasectomy? The answer is Fascial Interposition.