Laser Surgery for Enlarged Prostate

If you're a man and you live long enough, you're likely going to get it. What? An enlarged prostate. It's a normal part of the aging process caused by a lifetime of exposure to the male hormone testosterone. The condition, called benign prostatic hyperplasia, or BPH, can disrupt your life by keeping you running to the bathroom. Let's go to Mayo Clinic to learn about a new, minimally-invasive way to correct the problem.
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"At this age you still have to do some exercise somewhere."
So Charles and Clara Cowan try to slow down the aging process by speeding up their heart rate on a pair of bikes.
But before Charles had laser surgery to treat an enlarged prostate, he could barely make it down the block.
"All of a sudden, I'd have to go."
Like 80% of all men over age 50, Charles has what's called benign prostatic hyperplasia, or BPH. Normal aging causes the prostate gland to enlarge, restricting the flow of urine. Symptoms include frequent urination, difficulty starting urination and difficulty emptying your bladder. To treat it, Dr. Gregory Broderick told Charles he had three options: oral medications that can cause side effects, standard surgery which fixes the promblem, but requires general anesthesia and a hospital stay, or laser surgery.
"We can offer the patient the hope that for the next three to five years, their symptoms will be well controlled."
Here's how: a urologist inserts what's called a cystoscope to view the enlarged prostate. He then inserts the laser, and places it under the surface of the gland. The laser heats the tissue and destroys it. The gland slowly shrinks over the next few months, allowing uring to flow.
"There's very minimal bleeding and the procedure can be done on an outpatient basis."
With the laser surgery behind Charles, he and Clara can now enjoy an afternoon bike ride without making lots and lots of pit stops.

Dr. Broderick says this laser technology is one of several new, less-invasive therapies available for men with BPH. One of those treatments involves destroying tissue with microwaves. He also says standard surgery remains the gold standard of treatment, but the trend in medicine is moving toward procedures like the laser which are less painful and offer a faster recovery. Again, BPH is a non-cancerous condition, but left untreated can make life miserable for many men. For more information about BPH, log onto http://www.medicaledge.org/2004december-4.html.