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IV Sedation (IV) versus Local Anaesthetic (LA)

IV Sedation (IV) versus Local Anaesthetic (LA)

There seems to be quite a lot of debate regarding what type of anaesthetic to have for vasectomy. Some doctors only provide IV sedation in a hospital and some only offer local anaesthetic in a GP Clinic and believe that IV Sedation is not necessary.

At MSI Australia we provide a comprehensive service where both IV sedation and local anaesthetic are available across the country. This is because both options are valid and need to be offered to cover the wide range of clients and their needs. Let’s explore this further.

What is IV sedation and who is it for?

IV Sedation is an intravenous form of anaesthetic where a needle is used to put a thin plastic tube into a vein in the back of your hand or arm. Small amounts of medicine are given to make you relaxed and sleepy. In most cases, you will not be aware during the procedure, or remember it afterwards. This is different to a General Anaesthetic (GA) where breathing gases are used and masks or tubes are used to assist breathing.

Anyone can choose to have IV Sedation for their vasectomy and many men simply prefer to be “knocked out” as they know they will not handle being awake for the procedure well. Other men may have had a previous inguinal hernia or scrotal surgery in which case we recommend them to have IV sedation as there is a chance that old scar tissue will make the vasectomy under LA difficult and may even mean the LA operation is postponed to a later date for the needed IV sedation. For all men who have had a previous vasectomy in the past we insist on them having IV sedation for the same reasons.

Around 25-30% of our patients nationally choose IV sedation and around 70-75% chose LA so don’t feel like you are the odd one out if you choose IV sedation.

A specially trained sedationist doctor or anaesthetist will check your health and discuss sedation and any risks on the day. This doctor will give you your sedation and look after you during your procedure. IV sedation is not suitable if you have had previous reactions to iv anaesthetic or if you have serious heart or lung disease.

Please tell the doctor if you have ever had any problems with previous anaesthetics or any heart or lung diseases.

Modern sedation is generally very safe but there are some risks.

It is important to remember that if you choose IV sedation then you will need to fast prior to the procedure and you will need to have another person drive you home on the day as you cannot drive for 24 hours after the anaesthetic. See further information here.

What is Local Anaesthetic (LA) and who is it for?

Local anaesthetic is where a small amount of medication is injected into the skin and tissues beneath the skin to deaden the area for a pain-free operation. The deadening usually lasts for 30 minutes but at MSI Australia Sydney we use a long-acting LA as well which leads to deadening for up to 5 hours or more. When the needle is introduced there can be a small pin-prick feeling but a pain-free needle technique we use results in many men not feeling the needle at all.

LA is for anyone who chooses it and there is no need to fast or to have someone else drive you home. It is also for anyone who cannot have IV sedation because of a past reaction or a heart or lung disease. Very rarely some people will feel some faintness even up to an hour or 2 after any procedure under LA so you still need to be aware of this and be careful driving home.

What is the cost difference?

At MSI Australia we are one of the only vasectomy providers offering minimal or no gap with Private Health Insurance (PHI) for both IV Sedation and Local Anaesthetic in a private Day Hospital. See these FAQs for more detail on PHI use at our Day Hospital network.

Therefore if you have PHI Hospital cover then you will only pay a maximum of $100 gap plus any excess applicable under your policy for all your doctor and hospital costs for your vasectomy for both IV Sedation and Local Anaesthetic which is pretty amazing.

If you do not have PHI no problem, you can still access exactly the same quality services with the price for LA ranging from $480 out of pocket in a Medical Centre to $690-$1,050 in a Day Hospital. With IV sedation the price range is from $750 to $1,250 in a Day Hospital which is still much more affordable than many other options in the marketplace.


About the Author

About the Author

Dr Justin Low

Justin received his medical degree from the University of Sydney in 1987 and completed the RACGP Family Medicine Program (FMP) in 1991. He became a Fellow of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners in 1993. He has performed over 9000 vasectomies since 2011 during which time he developed the MSI No Scalpel Open Handed technique with painless needle technique. He is responsible for training an quality assurance of MSI Vasectomy services across the country.

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You can choose to use Private Health Insurance (PHI) to contribute to the cost of your vasectomy or you can use Medicare only. However, for those looking to make the most of the PHI cover they have, it’s important to understand some basic information.

There seems to be quite a lot of debate regarding what type of anaesthetic to have for vasectomy. Some doctors only provide IV sedation in a hospital and some only offer local anaesthetic in a GP Clinic and believe that IV Sedation is not necessary.

If you have Private Health Insurance (PHI) and are interested in getting a vasectomy, then we have the perfect option that allows you to use your insurance and pay minimal or no gap.

Alright boys, it’s time to talk about the big V! Maybe you’ve had all the kids you want to have, or maybe you’re crystal clear on never wanting any at all. Either way, you’ve been thinking about committing to firing blanks. So what’s holding you back?

Most men have, at some point in their lives, experienced an impact or blow to their testicles. It’s an unfortunate side-effect of having them located where they are. For many men, just the recollection of such an event is enough to bring tears to our eyes. And this memory is often one of the factors that deters men from committing to a vasectomy.

If you’re in a heterosexual, monogamous relationship and have decided not to have any/more children, then you and your partner might be weighing up your options around permanent contraception methods, also referred to as sterilisation. The two to consider are tubal ligation and a vasectomy.

When it comes to finances, the choice between condoms and a vasectomy seems pretty obvious. Well it might be time to think again, because not only is a vasectomy far more effective at preventing pregnancy, it also turns out to be a lot more affordable over a lifetime.

The age of men who have vasectomies can vary as much as their reasons for getting one. Legally anyone over the age of 18 is allowed to have one.

There’s a lot of misinformation around vasectomies and sex post-vasectomy. In fact, most people don’t understand what’s involved in the procedure or the impact it can have on your body and sex life. So let’s look at what a vasectomy is NOT!

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