Hey men, ready to take one for the team?

Summa Health says March Madness is the perfect time to make the cut — that is, a vasectomy.

In an ad campaign that started in January, the Akron-based health system is encouraging men to schedule their vasectomies in March so they can recover while watching the NCAA college basketball March Madness tournament.

The increase in men nationwide getting vasectomies during March Madness started several years ago, said Dr. Kevin Spear with Summa Urology and chair of Summa’s urology department.

“I don’t know who started it, but it really is a good idea and maybe it was just someone figured out, ‘Hey, we can get two to three days off from work per doctor’s orders and it works perfectly for basketball times,’ especially these first two weekends in March,” Spear said. His group’s private practice did a similar marketing campaign about five years ago — before joining Summa — to encourage vasectomies during March Madness.

The 64-team tournament play starts first-round games on Thursday and Friday, bringing more than 12 hours of live play broadcast per day through the weekend. Play continues next Thursday through the weekend and a national champion will be crowned April 8.

Summa’s marketing team had a little fun with the “Summa Health Vas Madness Survival Kit” goody bag offered to patients, borrowing some other similar items given away nationwide by other urology groups.

The orange basketball-shaped drawstring bag comes with several basketball-shaped items, including a bottle opener, stress ball and ice pack; a T-shirt; and coupon for a free medium Papa John’s pizza.

Also among the items: a bag of nuts.

“That was on purpose,” Spear quipped.

Spear said the items were kind of a joke to go along with the theme, and acknowledged that he’s not sure about the functionality of the small basketball-shaped ice pack.

“I don’t think it will last long as far as being cold. You could use a bag of frozen peas or literally you could use a bag of ice,” he said.

The bag also includes collection bottles for patients to send in a specimen after three months to make sure the vasectomy worked.

The “Vas Madness” ad campaign touts continuous tournament coverage in the waiting room and a chance to win a 55-inch smart TV.

Spear said the procedure is done in an office setting and takes 20 minutes — the same amount of time as a college basketball half.

Annually, 500,000 men get vasectomies nationwide, Spear said. The procedure is typically covered by insurance.

So far, 125 vasectomies are scheduled for the three-week period around the basketball tournament, Spear said. There are 56 scheduled this week, with 25 on Friday alone for the group of four urologists, Spear said. On a typical Friday, about four to five vasectomies are done. Throughout the year, the group will probably do 350 to 400 total.

“We are close to capacity and we definitely planned this in advance to have time, but we still have spots so we could still add people,” Spear said.

The Cleveland Clinic said it also has seen an increase in scheduled vasectomies during March Madness for several years.

In March 2018, the clinic performed 153 vasectomies compared to the monthly average of 108 for the rest of the year. A total of 1,296 vasectomies were performed in 2018 across all of its campuses. The clinic also provides a basketball-shaped ice pack to its patients and promotes the services online.

After the procedure, doctor’s orders include getting a ride home from the office, then two to three days of taking it easy and not lifting anything heavy for a week, Spear said.

And watch some basketball.

 

Beacon Journal consumer columnist and medical reporter Betty Lin-Fisher can be reached at 330-996-3724 or blinfisher@thebeaconjournal.com. Follow her @blinfisherABJ on Twitter or www.facebook.com/BettyLinFisherABJ and see all her stories at www.ohio.com/topics/linfisher