Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH), also called prostate enlargement, generally causes symptoms that affect the patient’s daily life. Urinary frequency and urgency might prevent men from engaging in their normal activities.
Until now, patients suffering from BPH had few treatment options. Usually, they had to choose between watchful waiting, medications, and surgery.
Watchful waiting approach to treating BPH involves lifestyle changes that might lead to symptoms’ relief. Unfortunately, it has been confirmed that symptoms typically get worse over time.
On the other hand, drug therapy does not work for everyone. It can take even months until medications start to work and usually they require continuous in-take. A large number of side effects associated with prescription medication, such as headaches, dizziness, and sexual dysfunction, make BPH patients discontinue drug use.
Surgery was considered an effective way of treating BPH, but it proved to cause erectile and ejaculatory dysfunction and implies a longer recovery time.
In this context, the UroLift System was developed with the aim at effectively treating all the bothersome symptoms of BPH, while, at the same time, spare patients the long list of side effects associated with other conventional treatments.
What is UroLift?
UroLift represents a fast and safe way of treating BPH and the lower urinary tract symptoms associated with BPH (LUTS). The UroLift system is a one-time procedure, usually performed in a doctor’s office, without requesting hospitalization. It is a safe alternative to medication while being, at the same time, the only treatment for BPH that preserves the erectile and ejaculatory function.
How does the UroLift System work?
Being a minimally invasive procedure that does not require heating, cutting or removal of the enlarged prostate tissue, the UroLift System can successfully be performed under local anesthesia and ensures a short recovery period.
The enlarged prostate tissue usually narrows or even blocks the urethra, the tube that conducts urine from the bladder out of the body. The urethral blockage is sometimes causing severe symptoms, such as difficulty starting urination, weak urine stream or dribbling. The UroLift System addresses the root of the problem, the blockage of the urethra.
The three steps of the UroLift System:
- The enlarged prostate is accessed through the obstructed urethra under cystoscopic visualization using the UroLift Device, which contains a UroLift implant.
- The UroLift device delivers small permanent implants that have the role of lifting and holding the enlarged prostate tissue out of the way, resulting in urethral unblocking. The UroLift small implants hold apart the prostatic lobes that have obstructed the urethra. Typically, there are four UroLift implants that ensure prostate lifting. They are made of common implantable materials: nitinol, stainless steel and PET suture.
- Once the enlarged prostate tissue is held in place and is not obstructing the urethra anymore, the UroLift Device is removed. It leaves an open urethra and provides rapid relief of BPH symptoms.
What are the benefits of the UroLift System?
The UroLift System is on top of the list of available BPH treatment options, due to the large series of benefits it provides:
- Preservation of sexual function – Patients consider this benefit one of the most important factors that contribute to their quality of family life.
- Rapid symptom relief – All the urinary symptoms caused by BPH are relieved and the effects are durable, long-lasting.
- Short recovery period – UroLift is a one-day procedure that does not require hospitalization, is performed under local anesthesia and patients usually do not need a catheter. Due to its minimally-invasive characteristic, the procedure does not involve prostate tissue cutting or removal and that is why patients recover faster and are able to resume their normal life.
- No need for on-going drug use – After undergoing a BPH treatment with the UroLift System, patients usually do not need to continue taking prescription medication.
Usually, patients undergoing the UroLift treatment for BPH experience mild side-effects, compared to the severity of side-effects associated with other treatments. These side-effects may include:
- Painful urination
- Hematuria (blood in the urine)
- Pelvic pain
- Urination urgency and frequency
Note: The side-effects above-mentioned are short term and usually resolve within two to four weeks after treatment.
Recovery after UroLift
Treatment with UroLift does not require hospitalization and patients are able to return home the same day without the need of a catheter. There are common, moderate side-effects that resolve in a period between two and four weeks, depending on the individual condition. Symptom relief is sure and the discomfort is short-term.
UroLift System compared to TURP (Transurethral Resection of the Prostate)
TURP is a surgical procedure during which a retroscope is used to cut out the enlarged portion of the prostate. It is an invasive surgery performed under general anesthesia. Also, this type of surgery requires hospitalization and the use of a catheter after-treatment.
By comparison, the UroLift System is a minimally-invasive type of surgery that does not require cutting, heating or removal of the prostate tissue. It is done in a physician’s office under local anesthesia and patients go home without the need for a catheter.
What is more, the unique benefit of the UroLift system is the preservation of the sexual function, compared to any other type of BPH treatment.
The urinary function is improved after both procedures, TURP and UroLift. As far as the recovery period is concerned, the UroLift System implies a shorter recovery period with fewer side-effects than TURP.
Read more about these two procedures in the article: UroLift vs. TURP. Which is better for treating BPH?
Who is a good candidate for the UroLift treatment?
If you experience symptoms caused by prostate enlargement and other treatments proved ineffective in your case, you may be a good candidate for the UroLift treatment. Talk to your doctor about your particular condition. Also, be aware of your allergies. The UroLift System is based on implants. So, if you have an allergy to nickel, titanium or stainless steel, talk to your doctor about it before preparing for the UroLift treatment.
How can you prepare for the UroLift treatment?
You may require some prior examination, which is usually recommended by your doctor. Also, you may be required to fill in a questionnaire for symptoms assessment, known as IPSS (International Prostate Symptom Score). You need to know that the procedure usually takes less than an hour and you may be given medication to avoid the discomfort during the treatment. You do not need to prepare for a hospital stay, because patients usually go home the same day and do not require a catheter.