A prostate ‘lift’ instead of surgery
A treatment option for men with enlarged prostates
BY AMBER SMITH
It’s a procedure that can improve urinary symptoms in men with enlarged prostates -- without surgery or the removal of tissue. And it doesn’t cause sexual side effects.
The UroLift is a new option for some men. The urologist pulls the sides of the prostate away from the urethra, using steel sutures to hold the prostate tissue back -– like the tiebacks that keep window draperies open (see illustration). This is meant to widen the urethra to allow for a better flow of urine.
“What I usually tell my patients is that we are basically Moses opening the sea. We are creating a nice channel for urine to flow,” says Hanan Goldberg, MD, an assistant professor of urology at Upstate.
The sutures remain for life. Goldberg says they meld into the prostate tissue within two or three weeks. Men who feel burning, frequency or urgency after the procedure usually see those side effects go away within two to four weeks. He says the procedure can improve a man’s quality of life. Success rates after five years are about 87 percent.
Goldberg says UroLift does not affect a man’s ability to have an erection or to ejaculate normally. Other treatments for benign prostatic hyperplasia might involve those sexual side effects.
Some men take medications, either to relax the smooth muscles of the prostate or to block the effects of testosterone. Some choose a surgical procedure called transurethral resection of the prostate, or TURP, which is considered the “gold standard” because of its lasting success rate. Some opt for a laser ablation, which vaporizes tissue rather than cutting it out.
Each treatment comes with side effects. Urologists can explain what each patient can expect.
Goldberg advocates men be screened for prostate cancer regularly starting in their early 50s, or earlier if they are at high risk for prostate cancer. This involves a blood test. He says there is no link between prostate cancer and benign prostatic hyperplasia, or BPH. But he uses screening appointments to discuss urinary symptoms. “It’s important to talk about this, to put it on the table and see if there are any issues that need to be treated.”
Do you need care?
If you’re having urinary symptoms – frequency, trouble emptying your bladder or others – it’s time to see a urologist.
Blood tests, urine tests, a physical exam and medical history will help the urologist rule out prostate cancer. If the diagnosis is benign prostatic hyperplasia, or BPH, treatment options will depend upon:
- how bothersome your symptoms are,
- the size and shape of your prostate,
- your age and medical history,
- whether you can tolerate anesthesia or surgery, and
- your ability to accept certain side effects.
To reach Upstate Urology, visit upstate.edu/urology or call 315-464-1500. Offices are located in downtown Syracuse, suburban Syracuse, Auburn, Camillus, Cortland, Johnson City/Binghamton, Oneida and Utica.