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Comparative analysis of anticipated pain versus experienced pain in patients undergoing office vasectomy
Department of Urology, University of Oklahoma Health Science Center, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, USA
Apr  2017 (Vol.  24, Issue  2, Pages( 8744 - 8748)
PMID: 28436362


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    Advances in vasectomy technique have minimized patient discomfort; however fear of pain remains a primary concern. The objective is to determine how the anticipation of pain associated with vasectomy compares with patient?s actual intraoperative experienced pain levels.


    A cohort of patients undergoing clinic vasectomy was analyzed. Using visual analog pain scale patients were asked to rate their anticipated pain score (APS) pre-procedure and then an experienced pain score (EPS) post-procedure. Patients were also stratified by APS scores (high versus low). Changes in pain score were compared across these groups. Pain scores stratified by age, race, narcotics use, psychiatric history, and prior surgical history were also compared.


    In the 172 patients included, the average pre-op APS was 5.2 (95% CI 4.3-5.6), while post-op EPS was 2.1 (95% CI 1.8-2.4). Patients were stratified into 'high' (6-10) and 'low' (0-5) pre-op APS groups. The average drop in pain scores was found to be significantly larger in the 'high' versus the 'low' APS groups (4.66 versus 1.65 p < 0.001). No statistical difference was noted in the change in pain scores based on age, race, prior surgical history, chronic narcotics use or psychiatric history. Both groups tolerated the procedure well, with the mean EPS of 2.56 for the 'high' and 1.73 for the 'low' APS group (p < 0.05).


    The actual pain experienced by a patient is significantly lower than their anticipation of vasectomy pain, which will aid clinicians in appropriately counseling patients and minimizing pre-procedural anxiety.