Using Nitrous Oxide For Outpatient Urologic Procedures

A significant number of men are concerned about the pain associated with a vasectomy. Sedation using nitrous oxide, delivered via the disposable Nitrouseal(R) mask and breathing circuit and a standard nitrous Flowmeter, offers an excellent way to provide a safe, anxiety-free, vasectomy experience to those who are afraid of the pain and the discomfort.

Sedation with nitrous oxide is often mistakenly thought to induce sleep. In fact, most sedatives allow the patient to stay awake during the procedure. Sleepiness is a side effect of some medications, but nitrous oxide and oral conscious sedation only work to calm anxiety throughout the vasectomy procedure.

Sedation with nitrous oxide is popular because it does not require an IV, meaning no injections, no anxiety and no pain. Nitrous works so effectively that often the patient doesn’t even remember having the procedure. Safety and compliance are two important aspects of treatment, so sedation offers the individual the best option.

Whatever the form of sedative, it is a good idea to be accompanied by a caregiver. Most of the time if nitrous oxide is used the man can leave the office and drive himself home.

Here are some advantages associated with nitrous sedation during a vasectomy:

  • Anxiety is alleviated
  • Few side effects
  • More can be accomplished during each visit
  • No needles
  • No pain
  • Safe-used by Dentists for decades
  • Procedures take less time
  • Inexpensive
  • wears off rapidly

What kinds of sedatives are available?

The most popular types of sedatives are nitrous oxide and oral conscious sedation. Different levels of sedation (mild, moderate and deep) can be utilized depending on individual needs. Before administering any sedative, I will take a full medical history of the man, taking note of any current medications, allergies, or side effects from any medications.

Here is an overview of some of the most common types of dental sedatives:

Nitrous Oxide

Nitrous oxide, or “laughing gas,” is used as a mild sedative. It is delivered through the  Nitrouseal(R) face mask which can be held by the man during the procedure.  Nitrous oxide is administered throughout the entire procedure. Nitrous oxide elevates the general mood and can evoke a general sense of well-being. Most importantly, it relieves anxiety and reduces pain during the procedure. In addition, some tingling and numbness may be felt. There are few side effects associated with nitrous oxide, and it has been safely used in dentistry for many years.

Oral Conscious Sedation

Oral conscious sedation is an excellent choice for people who fear needles. Oral medication is provided prior to treatment in order to induce a moderate state of sedation. Though oral sedatives do not cause sleep, they usually dull the senses. This means that most patients cannot remember the pain, smells or noises associated with the procedure. Usually, a dose of medication is taken 30-40 minutes prior to the appointment, and then nitrous oxide may be added during the procedure as required.

What types of drugs are used in oral conscious sedation?

Most of the drugs used in sedation dentistry are classified as benzodiazepines. Benzodiazepines reduce anxiety, muscle spasms, insomnia and seizures. Each medication has a different half-life, meaning that the effects last for varying amounts of time. The estimated length of the procedure determines which type of drug is going to be most effective.

I will often use Valium.  This sedative has amnesic properties and a long half-life. I recommend you take the medication 30-45 minutes before the procedure and request that you have a ride home if you take the Valium.

If you have questions or concerns about sedation for a vasectomy, please contact me or my  office.


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