Several years ago, a man walked into a local urology office in mid-December. He was wearing shorts and requested a certain March date to undergo a vasectomy.
Dr. Bruce Yalowitz said he couldn't figure out why the man was planning the relatively quick procedure months in advance.
"Now I get to watch basketball," the patient said.
Some men who are collegiate basketball fans time their vasectomies to coincide with the NCAA men's basketball tournament, known as March Madness, so they can watch the games as they recover from surgery.
"I think it's true," Yalowitz said of the timing. "Who wouldn't want to sit around and watch basketball for 10 hours, and your wife has to let you?"
A vasectomy is a form of male sterilization.
According to the National Institutes of Health, the conventional method involves a doctor making small cuts in the scrotum to access the vas deferens. A small section of the vas deferens is cut out and removed, and the doctor may cauterize the ends and tie them with stitches. It is repeated on the other testicle.
A no-scalpel method involves puncturing the scrotum and pulling the vas deferens through the hole, where it is cut and a small section removed, before being cauterized or tied off, according to the National Institutes of Health.
The number of vasectomies increases around March Madness but it is not a vast difference, according to Yalowitz, of Urologic Specialists of Northwest Indiana, with offices in Munster and Merrillville.
Recovery time varies. Some men are fine the next day, and some are better after a week.
"For most people, if you do it on a Friday, they'll still be a little sore but able to get around on Monday," Yalowitz said. "In a perfect world, you'd lay low for a couple days."
Dr. Adam Perlmutter, of Lakeshore Urology in Valparaiso, said his office sees a slight increase in vasectomies timed in conjunction with March Madness.
"Most generally choose a time period where they're going to be gone (from work) a day or two," he said.
Perlmutter said 99 percent of the time, he does the 15-minute procedure on patients in his office instead of an operating room.
The office launched a billboard campaign several years ago that attracted attention and customers. It featured two basketballs side by side and suggested men time the surgery at March Madness.
Clever advertising and special offers are nothing new to vasectomy sales.
Past deals include a free pizza with every vasectomy during March Madness, offered through a Cape Cod clinic, and an Oklahoma clinic offered a pizza, pop and bag of frozen peas.