How effective are minimally invasive procedures to treat BPH?

The minimally invasive technologies used to treat benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) include:
  • transurethral vaporization of the prostate (TUVP or TVP)
  • transurethral microwave thermotherapy (TUMT)
  • transurethral needle ablation (TUNA)
  • visual laser ablation of the prostate (VLAP)
  • interstitial laser coagulation (ILC)

These minimally invasive procedures have some advantages over traditional surgery, but they must be viewed with caution. The long-term safety and durability of these procedures needs to be carefully evaluated before they are accepted as reasonable alternatives.

Randomized studies are needed to determine whether the new technology really does compare favorably to other tried-and-true treatment options, particularly transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP). A new technology may not closely approach TURP in terms of improving the peak urinary flow rate, but if the new procedure can provide a reasonable improvement with fewer risks, then it may be a legitimate option.

Studies on the long-term effectiveness of these technologies are also needed. Until these studies are reported, it is very difficult to say whether a newer technique is better or worse than drug therapy, surgery, or another minimally invasive procedure. If you are thinking about trying one of these surgical techniques, be sure to discuss the evidence regarding the various treatment options with your primary healthcare practitioner or urologist.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.