LOUISVILLE, Ky. — As the nation's elite college basketball teams dream of cutting the nets at the end of March Madness, a lot of men are working on cutting something else: their vas deferens.
Those are the tubes that carry sperm from a man's testicles to his urethra, making it possible to start a family. For at least the past decade, shearing and cauterizing the vas deferens, aka a vasectomy, has become a solid excuse to stay home and watch college basketball.
Every year during March Madness, the three-week tournament that determines a champion, men nationwide schedule vasectomies so they might enjoy a few days of uninterrupted basketball. Some call it Vas Madness, and urologists have run specials that include pizza coupons.
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► 2013:Men finding NCAA tourney an ideal time for vasectomies
► 2012:Vasectomies up during NCAA basketball tournament
You're on doctor's orders to not only skip work but to restrict movement. You have everyone's sympathy because a cauterizing gun was employed, you know, down there — and no more babies.
It's a win-win-win.
“For the last maybe three weeks we've had a flood of inquiries online.”
Angie Marnell, First Urology of Louisville
Louisville is a hotbed of college basketball and college basketball vasectomies.
"For the last maybe three weeks we've had a flood of inquiries online," said Marketing Coordinator Angie Marnell of Louisville's First Urology, which has around 50 patients in the chute. "We have 27 urologists available to do vasectomies, so we can spread those guys out and get them all taken care of."
And this happens in other areas of the country, too. The Cleveland Clinic reported a 10% increase in the number of vasectomies right before March Madness between 2014 and 2016, according to Men's Health magazine.
AthenaHealth, which provides cloud-based services for medical practices and health systems, found an even higher rate of increase when it looked at almost 173 urological practices it serves: Since 2015, its network averaged about 280 vasectomies a week, but March 14 to 18, 2016, saw 364 of the surgeries, 30% more.
When just looking at Fridays, to allow for weekend recovery time year-round, 41% more men scheduled, and went through with, the procedures: 206 vs. an average 147, according to the company's AthenaInsight newsletter.
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Recovery only takes a few days, so careful planning pays off.
Doctors recommend keeping a supply of frozen peas handy for the pain and swelling. Kroger stores around here, perhaps not coincidentally, have them on sale this week for 88 cents.
Follow Jeffrey Lee Puckett on Twitter: @JLeePuckett