If you need new spark plugs in your car, adding oil to the engine isn’t going to solve the problem.
There are limitations to how far this analogy goes with prostate problems. However, there is a certain aspect to it that is very applicable.
BPH, or enlarged prostate, as it is commonly known, is a condition where the prostate gland becomes enlarged and restricts the flow of urine through the ureter. You can read more about the condition in our earlier post here. In that post, we discussed the downsides of many medications used to treat BPH, namely sexual dysfunction, which is experienced by many patients.
But more to the point of this article, why treat a structural problem with drugs? And why not use a mechanical solution to solve a mechanical problem? Minimally invasive therapies have the benefit of fewer side effects and some of them provide quick relief without the need for ongoing treatment.
Minimally invasive treatment for BPH
One mechanical solution is a surgery known as TURP which will be discussed further in a later article. This surgery is the most invasive therapy for the condition and comes with its own risks and benefits. For now, let’s look at a few minimally invasive treatments and compare their benefits and side effects.
Burn the unwanted tissue
Some treatments will burn away a portion of the enlarged prostate to relieve the symptoms. Laser treatments such as photoselective vaporization of the prostate (PVP) or holmium laser enucleation (HOLEP) fall into this category. The laser is inserted through a cystoscope and targets only unwanted tissue, relieving pressure on the urethra.
Although this is considered an outpatient therapy, anesthesia is still required, and long-term results are varied. In addition, the tissue surrounding the treatment area must heal, and often a catheter is required after surgery.
Use the power of heat to reduce the size of the prostate
Transurethral Microwave Thermotherapy (TUMT) is a heat-based treatment that kills prostate tissue using microwaves. Radio waves are used in a similar procedure known as Transurethral Needle Ablation (TUNA). Less invasive than laser therapy or traditional surgery, these therapies can often be performed in a doctor’s office.
Both of these treatments have been good options for men who were not candidates for more invasive surgeries, but both have their limitations. Although sexual function is preserved for most cases, symptoms return in up to 25% of men who have these procedures. Some men also experience a burning sensation during urination after the treatment is done. In addition, symptom relief is not immediate, and a catheter is often required during the recovery period while the tissues heal.
Move the tissue out of the way
UroLift is a unique and very promising solution for men looking for a minimally invasive treatment for BPH.
Unlike the other minimally invasive treatments mentioned above, there have been no reported cases of sexual side effects among patients who have received the UroLift implant. This is a very positive development the treatment of BPH!
In addition, most of the other common side effects of BPH therapies are very minimal or not present at all with UroLift. Click here to see a comparison of side effects and results of various treatments compared to UroLift.
How do I know if UroLift is the right treatment for me?
During the procedure, your doctor will provide anesthesia to minimize discomfort. A small device is then implanted which holds the prostate tissue out of the way, immediately relieving pressure on the urethra.
There is no cutting, no burning, and no heating of the prostate tissue during this procedure, which makes the recovery process much shorter compared to other minimally invasive treatments. Most men do not need a catheter after treatment.
The biggest benefits of UroLift?
- Quick, straightforward procedure
- Rapid results
- Minimal side effects compared to other treatments
If you would like more information, or would like to find out if UroLift is the right treatment for you, contact our office today to schedule a visit with one of our practitioners.