The Prostate Laser: a Breakthrough in Science for Prostate Surgery

Specialists consider the prostate laser to be one of the most important innovations of the last 25 years for the treatment of an enlarged prostate. It can also help treat other issues that develop as a result of a urethra obstruction.
The Prostate Laser: a Breakthrough in Science for Prostate Surgery

Last update: 07 June, 2021

The prostate laser is a technique that specialists have been developing in the United States since 1998, and the results are definitely worth looking at. The statistics indicate that this invention creates a comfortable, safe, and effective method to tackle benign prostatic hyperplasia, more commonly known as an enlarged prostate.

One of the main advantages of the prostate laser is that it’s a minimally invasive procedure, which reduces the possibility of complications arising. The minimal intervention allows for the procedure and the post-op to be a lot more comfortable.

As of today, estimations suggest that specialists have treated around 200,000 patients worldwide with the prostate laser.

Additionally, there are several published studies and a general understanding of the safety and efficiency of this method; many even consider it to be one of the most important advances to treat benign prostatic hyperplasia in recent decades.

The prostate and the prostate laser

The prostate is a gland in the male reproductive system. It produces a fluid that mixes with the sperm upon ejaculation. This gland surrounds the urethra, which is a tube that helps the bladder to communicate with the outside.

With age, it’s common for the prostate to increase in size. As a result, this growth exerts pressure on the urethra, which makes urination and emptying the bladder difficult. This develops into a reduction of force when the individual is urinating, more frequent urination, and more nocturnal urination.

We know this prostate enlargement as benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). The prostate laser helps to alleviate the symptoms, from moderate to severe, that this issue can cause. The laser contracts or eliminates excess tissue, which is what obstructs the path of the urine.

doctor and patient in a consultation room with patient sat on bed. artists interpretation of prostate bottom left
The prostate is a gland in the male body that, with age, size increases, making urination more difficult.

Why this procedure?

To choose this procedure, specialists consider the size of the prostate, the patient’s state of health, the team available, and the ability of the treating physicians. In some cases, the patient may also undergo laser surgery to prevent or treat conditions that have developed as a result of the blockage preventing urination.

The prostate laser can solve, or at least relieve frequent urinary infections, damage to the bladder or kidneys that obstruct urinary flow, incontinence, total obstruction by bladder stones, or blood in the urine.

The main advantages of laser surgery are as follows:

  • Less risk of bleeding: this is great for those who have bleeding disorders or take anticoagulants.
  • Reduction of hospital stay: generally, this is an outpatient procedure, and only in some cases the patient will require a hospital stay.
  • Quicker recuperation
  • Less need for a catheter: usually this a patient will only need this for the first 24 hours after their operation.
  • Immediate results

What’s the procedure?

The lasers use a concentrated light that generates intense and precise heat. There are several types of prostate laser surgery, among which the following three stand out:

  • Photoselective vaporization of the prostate (PVP): In this case, the laser dissolves or vaporizes the excess tissue.
  • Holmium laser ablation of the prostate: Similar to the previous variation, but this type uses a different laser.
  • Holmium laser prostate enucleation: Here the laser cuts the excess tissue, and then it cuts the prostate tissue into small bits so a specialist can extract it. This is the best choice when the prostate is very big.

Regardless of the method, the patient starts with a health evaluation to know if the surgery is suitable for them. If it is, the surgery happens in an operating room, where the patient first receives epidural anesthesia. The doctor then introduces a cable through the urethra and an optical device propels the light.

The same laser has a photocoagulation effect that closes the wound to avoid bleeding, intense cell death, and irritation. Recovery is quick and rarely exceeds 24 hours.

prostate laser in doctor's hands in an operating room
The surgery is relatively quick; it happens in an operating room and the post-op is brief.

Risks and other interesting aspects about laser prostate

Symptoms of irritation appear in only 5% of cases, like a stinging sensation or an increase in the amount of urination, but usually, these disappear over a short time with anti-inflammatory treatment. In just 3% of cases, the patient may experience blood in their urine, which they can solve by drinking more liquid.

Retrograde ejaculation appears in between 21 and 45% of men that have laser prostate surgery. With more conventional methods, that figure is between 70 and 90%.

On average, the urinary flow increases by 200% in those that have this procedure. And the satisfaction rate for these patients is around 95%. Normally, it only takes two to three days for patients to return to their normal activities.

As we’ve mentioned, it’s a more comfortable procedure than conventional surgery, and it’s a therapeutic option that you can discuss with your doctor. If you suffer from any prostate problem, a health professional will be able to explain the precise steps.

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