Enlarged prostate, or Benign Prostatic hypertrophy (BPH), is a common but incompletely understood consequence of aging. It is very common in older males, affecting approximately half of men in their 50’s, and the majority of men in their 70’s and 80’s. The prostate gland surrounds the urethra like a doughnut, and often enlargement of the gland can cause compression leading to difficulty with urination. Symptoms of BPH vary from person to person, and can include one or many of the following:
When left untreated, BPH can lead to bladder dysfunction, recurrent urinary tract infections, and even obstruction of the kidneys and subsequent kidney failure.
BPH can be treated with medication or with surgery. The specific treatment options are tailored to each patient in order to provide the best possible outcome. There are a couple of surgical treatment options for those men in whom medications may not be a suitable option. The concept of all treatments is essentially the same- to create a larger urinary channel through the prostate gland in order to allow easier urinary flow. The most effective options include transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP) and laser vaporization of the prostate (Greenlight).
TURP is considered the gold standard surgical treatment because of its durability and efficacy as a procedure. By using an endoscopic camera, our surgeons can shave away the prostatic blockage and seal blood vessels with an electrical blade until a larger urinary channel is created. No incision is made on the skin. A urinary catheter is left to drain the bladder until the channel is healed (usually 24 to 48 hours). Upon catheter removal, in most cases, the improvement in urinary symptoms is dramatic.
In the Greenlight Procedure, your doctor inserts a tiny fiber into the urethra endoscopically without incisions. The fiber is equipped with a high-powered laser which vaporizes (or melts) excess prostate tissue. At the same time, the laser cauterizes blood vessels, minimizing bleeding and discomfort. Following the procedure, you may have a catheter in your bladder that will be almost always removed the next day. You may feel slight discomfort including more frequent urge to urinate and temporary burning while urinating. We normally see immediate improvement of urinary symptoms, although your results may differ.