Legal Aspects of Men's Genitourinary Health

J. Henning; S. Waxman


Int J Impot Res. 2009;21(3):165–170 

In This Article


Medico-legal aspects of vasectomy are the source of many articles in the literature.[19,20,21,22,23,24,25] However, claims due to vasectomy complications account for less than 5% overall against urologists when considering indemnity payment series.[2,4] Legal claims can result from complications of the procedure including injury to or loss of the testis, chronic pain or inflammation and failure due to recanalization of the vas deferens, resulting in fertility and subsequent unwanted pregnancy. Preoperative patient counseling, careful documentation in the informed consent and follow-up support are crucial to show that the patient was well aware of the possible risks and complications of vasectomy.[19]

Vasectomies are performed by family practitioners, general surgeons and urologists. Many providers will experience at least some minor complications from vasectomies during the course of their careers. One must know when to abort an office vasectomy due to challenging anatomy (that is, before scrotal surgery or a very short spermatic cord) so as to not cause damage from surgical misadventure.[25] Many men do not follow up with semen analyses after vasectomy, thus it is important to document in the consent that patients have been instructed to consider themselves fertile until postoperative semenalysis shows azoospermia on two consecutive samples.[21]


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