Green Light Laser Therapy
If your physician has determined that the symptoms you are experiencing are due to Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BHP) or enlarged prostate. Historically, this condition has been treated with medication or an invasive surgical procedure, Transurethral Resection of the Prostate (TURP). Today you have the opportunity to choose an advanced, minimally invasive treatment option known as Green Light Laser Therapy.
Jump to sectionWhat is the prostate? What is BPH? What are the symptoms of an enlarged prostate? What is Green Light Laser Therapy? What to expect during? What to expect afterward? What are the advantages? What are the risks?
What is the Prostate?
The prostate is a gland in the male genital-urinary tract. The main function of the prostate is to produce fluid that transports sperm during ejaculation. The prostate is located below the bladder and surrounds the urethra. The urethra is the tube that carries urine from the bladder through the penis.
What is BPH (Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia)?
BHP is a non-cancerous (benign) enlargement of the prostate. Your prostate grew to normal size during your teenage years. Usually, the prostate grows to the size of a walnut. The prostate may begin to grow again when a man reaches middle age. The reasons for this growth are not fully known. By the age of 80, 80% of men have BHP. BHP causes symptoms in many older men.
What are the Symptoms of an Enlarged Prostate?
An enlarged prostate presses on the urethra. The pressure can obstruct the flow of urine through the urethra. Obstruction of the flow of urine can cause problems, including:
- Frequent urination, especially at night (nocturia)
- Weak urine flow
- Sudden urge to urinate (urgency)
- Trouble starting and stopping your urine stream (hesitation)
- Inability to completely empty your bladder
- Pushing or straining to urinate
- Pain or burning during urination
What is Green Light Laser Therapy?
Green Light Laser Therapy is a procedure performed with a small fibre that is inserted into the urethra through the cystoscope. The fibre delivers high powered laser energy which quickly heats up the prostate tissue, causing the tissue to vaporize. This process is continued until all the enlarged prostate tissue has been removed. Natural urine flow is rapidly restored and urinary symptoms are quickly relieved in most patients.
Green Light Laser Therapy combines the effectiveness of the 'gold standard' transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP) surgical procedure with far fewer side effects. The result is a wide open channel for urine flow to pass through, but with fewer risks of side effects, including erectile dysfunction and bleeding, common with TURP.
Green Light Laser Therapy can be performed in Bridgend Clinic and typically only one night stay is required. However, in some cases when a patient travels a long distance, has other medical conditions to consider, or is in a frail condition, a second nights stay may be recommended.
What to Expect During Your Green Light Laser Therapy Treatment
First, the consultant will perform an evaluation to see you are a candidate for this therapy. Then, on the day of your procedure, you will be admitted to Bridgend Clinic.
Each patient is different, therefore treatment procedures may vary. Below is a general description of the procedure and what to expect:
- Before treatment your consultant may give you medication to help you relax during the procedure. Other medications that your consultant may give you are to avoid infection.
- You may be asked to empty your bladder.
- You will be taken to theatre moved to a treatment bed where you will lie on your back. You will be provided anaesthesia that will allow you to sleep through the entire procedure.
- Once you are asleep, your consultant will insert a cytoscope through the urethra.
- The laser fibre is introduced through the cytoscope and advanced into the urethra at the location of the prostate.
- The consultant systematically vaporizes the enlarged prostate tissue until the obstruction is removed.
- At the end of the procedure the consultant may place a temporary catheter to let urine drain from you bladder.
What to Expect After Your Green Light Therapy Treatment
Since this is an inpatient procedure, you will typically go home the following day after treatment. You should have someone drive you home after the procedure.
If a catheter was placed in your bladder at the end of the procedure, it will typically be removed within 24 hours. However, patients with compromised bladder function or those who have required prolonged catheterisation as a result of severe urinary symptoms may require a catheter for a longer period of time.
Most patients experience very rapid relief of symptoms and a dramatic improvement in urine flow. This typically occurs within 24 hours of the procedure. However, medical history, health condition and other factors can influence treatment recovery.
You may experience mild discomfort such as slight burning during urination and small amounts of blood in your urine for a week or so. Also, depending on the condition of your bladder, you may experience greater frequency and urge to urinate. This will resolve over time as your bladder adjusts now that the obstruction in your urethra has been removed.
What are the Advantages of Green Light Laser Therapy Treatment?
- Rapid urine flow improvement
- Quick return to normal activities
- Virtually bloodless procedures
- A definitive, long lasting treatment
- Less than 1% reported cases of erectile dysfunction
- Short to possibly no catheterisation (less than 24 hours in most cases)
- Outpatient procedure in otherwise healthy patients
- Over 200,000 patients treated world wide
What are the Risks of Green Light Laser Therapy Treatment?
Every medical treatment may have side effects. The same is true for Green Light Laser Therapy. Below are the most common side effects experienced with Green Light:
- Hematuria - Blood in urine
- Bladder spasm or urgency - Cramping in the bladder or an urgent need to urinate
- Irritation of the urinary tract - Frequent urination, burning sensation.