In their ongoing goal to make treatment options available to patients locally, Madison Healthcare Service can now perform an increasing number urology procedures in-house at the MHS hospital. Newest among those surgeries is GreenLight laser surgery for the treatment of prostate enlargement – a minimally invasive operation with fewer side-effects and quicker recovery time than traditional prostate surgery.
Who will benefit from GreenLight laser surgery?
Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH) or enlarged prostate is a common, age related condition that affects many men. BPH is believed to be a normal result of the aging process and the result of changes in hormonal balance. Approximately half of all men over that age of 75 have some symptoms related to BPH.
As men age, the prostate – a gland surrounding the urethra – can become enlarged, which in turn can result in squeezing or even partial blockage of the urethra. BPH is not cancer, and is rarely serious, but the symptoms it causes can be a nuisance.
Some of those common symptoms of BPH include:
- Difficulty starting a urine stream (hesitancy and straining)
- Decreased strength of the urine stream (weak flow)
- Dribbling after urination
- Feeling that the bladder is not completely empty
- An urge to urinate again soon after urinating
- Pain during urination (dysuria)
- Waking at night to urinate (nocturia)
- Frequent urination
- A sudden, uncontrollable urge to urinate
And for many BPH sufferers, those symptoms can be exacerbated by cold weather or as a result of physical or emotional stress.
BPH can’t be cured, but it can be treated to reduce symptoms – often with the help of medication. But for those with moderate to severe BPH or those with additional medical complications, surgery is often the best and most effective option.
What is GreenLight laser surgery?
The goal of all BPH related prostate surgeries is to reduce the size of the prostate and thereby restore normal urine flow. In the case of traditional prostate surgery (transurethral resection of prostate or TURP), this is accomplished by inserting a medical device called resectoscope into, and through, the urethra and trimming away pieces of the prostate.
Rather than cutting, GreenLight laser surgery reduces the size of the prostate via a small, high powered laser, which evaporates the prostate tissue. The laser is selectively absorbed by blood within the prostate tissue, which leads to vaporization and removal of the excess tissue.
Traditional prostate reduction therapy vs. GreenLaser
Because GreenLight laser surgery is newer and less known amongst the general population for BPH treatment, the concept may seem daunting, but GreenLight surgery has been found to have marked improvements over traditional methods. GreenLight surgery is less invasive, has quicker recovery time (most patients will only be kept overnight for observation), and has also been shown to have fewer complications.
For instance, the risk of bleeding associated with TURP or traditional surgery, is substantially reduced with GreenLight surgery because the laser cauterizes (seals) blood vessels as it works. This makes GreenLight surgery a superior option for patients with clotting issues or those taking blood thinning medications or anti-coagulation medications like Warfarin.
Studies also show that GreenLight surgery has fewer post surgery side-effects, including post-surgery erectile dysfunction, which occurs in only one percent of cases following GreenLight surgery, versus the 14 percent of cases that occur with TURP.
Non-invasive kidney stone removal also available
Another urology service now available in-house at MHS is the treatment of kidney stones with Extracorporeal Shock Wave Lithotripsy (ESWL).
Granted, the name is a mouthful, but the ESWL itself is a quick, totally non-invasive treatment for troublesome kidney stones.
What is ESWL?
ESWL breaks up kidney stones into tiny particles by targeting the stones with high-energy pressure waves. The stone, once broken up, can then be passed naturally through the urinary system, eliminating the need for invasive surgery.
ESWL is a tried and tested treatment that has been used by urologists in the U.S since the 1980s. This is an outpatient procedure and usually results in only minimal soreness of the treatment area. The majority of any discomfort is generally the result of the kidney stone fragments passing from the kidney to the bladder. Your doctor can prescribe medication to make this process more comfortable.
And complications resulting from ESWL are extremely rare.
If you believe that GreenLight laser surgery or ESWL is right for you, consult your primary care provider or call the MHS clinic at 320-598-7536 to learn and receive a referral.