The Power of Water
Many men have an enlarged prostate. It is a common medical problem that can greatly impact their quality of life, possibly preventing them fully emptying their bladder and causing other issues.
For the last half century, transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP), a surgical treatment, has been commonly used to help those with an enlarged prostate. TURP has been the gold standard of treatment. It uses a camera through the urethra and an electric current to shave out prostate tissue.
Now, however, there is a new treatment option available at Middlesex Health: Aquablation therapy. This procedure has been described as a game changer — a new and innovative way to help men with enlarged prostates.
Aquablation therapy uses real-time ultrasound and high-velocity water jets to treat lower urinary tract symptoms due to an enlarged prostate. It was introduced to the surgical specialty of urology a few years ago, and Dr. Edward Myer, a Middlesex Health urologist, learned about it at a conference in 2018. By 2021, he was eagerly reading studies about it and observed a few cases at other medical facilities.
“I was sold on it,” Dr. Myer says.
Middlesex Health began offering Aquablation therapy in March, making the health system the first in the area to offer this therapy from PROCEPT BioRobotics Corp.
The minimally invasive treatment relies on the power of water. “It’s more powerful than a power washer,” Dr. Myer says of those water jets that remove prostate tissue allowing urine to flow more freely.
While effective and frequently used, TURP can only be used on certain size prostates.
A number of other technologies have been introduced to help men with an enlarged prostate, all of which apply some sort of energy, such as laser, heat, steam, to the inside of the prostate to open the channel. All of these other technologies have limitations.
Aquablation therapy can be used on most prostates, including very large ones. Compared to Aquablation, a TURP results in a longer recovery period. It may also cause more prostate bleeding, possible thermal injury to the prostate and ejaculatory dysfunction.
“This is technology that could potentially replace a TURP,” Dr. Myer says. “If anything has the chance to knock TURP off the throne as the gold standard, it’s Aquablation.”
What does it mean to have an enlarged prostate?
Thirty percent of men older than 50 have benign prostatic hyperplasia (an enlarged prostate) and 80 percent of men in their 80s. Benign prostatic hyperplasia happens when a prostate has grown larger than normal. It is not associated with prostate cancer. And while the prostate does grow throughout a man’s life, the cause of prostate enlargement is not known.
Having an enlarged prostate impacts a man’s ability to urinate and fully empty his bladder, impacting his quality of life. If it is not treated, it could cause other problems, such as bladder or kidney damage, bladder stones and incontinence.
Surgical options like Aquablation therapy and TURP are considered for men who do not respond to medications, are not able to take medications or who want to be free of medications.
More information about Middlesex Health Urology
Middlesex Health has a team of capable urologists ready to help men and women with a variety of urological problems. Currently, Dr. Myer is the only urologist performing Aquablation therapy. However, additional Middlesex Health urologists are being trained to perform the procedure.
For more information about Middlesex Health Urology, click here.
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