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What is transurethral vaporization of the prostate?

Transurethral vaporization of the prostate (TUVP or TVP) is the most recently introduced technology to treat benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). TUVP was developed to overcome some of the major problems associated with the surgical procedure known as transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP), such as bleeding, catheterization time, and long hospital stays and recovery time.

The new technique is a modification of TURP: With TURP, a very thin, wire loop with an electric current is used to cut away pieces of the obstructing tissue in the prostate. In TUVP, a special, grooved, roller electrode (usually shaped like a cylinder) is inserted through a resectoscope, delivering a strong electric current. The roller electrode is rolled over the tissue, vaporizing -- instead of cutting away at -- the top 1 to 3 millimeters of tissue. (In this way, TUVP is comparable to laser vaporization techniques.)

Unfortunately, with each pass of the roller, the layer below the vaporized tissue becomes more solid, or coagulated. This coagulated tissue is harder to vaporize -- a drawback that makes the procedure more tedious and time-consuming. For this reason, TUVP is best limited to men with small prostates.

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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.