The Burdizzo is a castration device which employs a large clamp designed to break the blood vessels leading into the testicles. Once the blood supply to the testicles is lost, testicular necrosis occurs, and the testicles shrink, soften, and eventually deteriorate completely. When the device is used the operator crushes the spermatic cords one at a time, leaving a space in between in order to maintain an interruption of blood-flow to the scrotum.
The burdizzo is used primarily on farm animals such as cattle and sheep. For example, pampered cattle, used for Kobe beef, are often castrated by this method because of the reduced risk of bleeding and infection.
Burdizzos have also been used by some human males as a means of self-castration, often by those seeking a remedy for a high sex drive, or those who, for religious or personal reasons, seek to become eunuchs. The burdizzo has also been used by some transsexual women and other male-to-female transgender persons, as an alternative to the surgical procedure known as an orchiectomy. Because an incision is not required, castration by burdizzo is usually bloodless and, according to some research, has a lower risk of infection, compared with traditional methods. However, because the burdizzo was not originally designed for human use, and because fairly little research has been done on burdizzo castrations in humans, many physicians and others do not consider the burdizzo to be a safe castration method for humans. While the risks of blood loss and infection are low, anesthesia is a must, as the burdizzo causes blunt force trauma to the spermatic cords, which are thickly wrapped in nerve fibers.
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