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Friday, 17 August, 2001, 11:26 GMT 12:26 UK
GP carries out DIY vasectomy
Dr Jonathan Heatley
Dr Jonathan Heatley carried out a DIY vasectomy
A GP carried out his own vasectomy during a routine surgery to prove to men that the feared surgery can be pain free.

Within days of his operation the 45-year-old father of three was cycling to visit his patients in Horsham, West Sussex.

Dr Heatley, who specialises in vasectomies, carried out another three that day before tackling his own operation.

He said his wife and a practice nurse had helped with the operation and that it had hardly hurt.


Eventually I just thought 'sod it I'll do it myself'

Dr Jonathan Heatley

'Pain free'

He said he hoped his story would reassure other men who were thinking of having the "snip".

He said: "I'm not talking about this because I want everyone to know I've been hacking at myself. I hope that what I've done will reassure men that vasectomies can be relatively pain free.

"Some of the horror stories you hear are justified, but it doesn't have to be that way."

Dr Heatley said he had been thinking of having the operation for some time, but had wanted to find someone he trusted as much as himself to carry out the procedure.

"But eventually I just thought 'sod it, I'll do it myself."

The vasectomy involves cutting the two small tubes that carry sperm from the testicles.

Men having the operation need a local anaesthetic to numb the pain, but some insist on a general anaesthetic because they are so worried about the use of needles in such a sensitive area.

Dr Heatley said he had ensured he was thoroughly numbed for the 15 minute procedure and that he had bled very little.

He said that he has carried out about 300-400 vasectomies using a "pain-free" technique that he helped to invent.

He uses a very fine dental needle to administer the local anaesthetic and then ties off the tubes and blood vessels with a device that seals them through heating.

Protocol

The doctor's regulatory body, the General Medical Council, criticised Dr Heatley's self-surgery and said doctors should avoid treating either themselves or close family.

But a spokeswoman said it was difficult to lay down absolute rules.

She said: "It makes sense for a doctor to treat minor ailments, or take emergency action when necessary but doctors should avoid treating themselves or close family members wherever possible.

"This is a matter of common sense and good medical practice."

See also:

22 Oct 99 | Health
Vasectomy health fears soothed
12 Apr 99 | Health
Male pill breakthrough
29 Jun 98 | Health
Shy men to get help with sex talk
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