Several laser methods for treating an enlarged prostate
gland (benign prostatic hyperplasia, or BPH) are now being
used. Laser therapy uses a laser beam to remove the part of the prostate that is blocking
urethra. The procedure is done under either a
spinal anesthetic. Most men who have laser treatment
of BPH are able to leave the hospital the same or the next day.
While several laser methods are used, in general they all either sear
(laser ablation) or vaporize (laser vaporization) the prostate tissue.
As the seared tissue heals, it shrinks, dead
tissue falls off, and the blockage is reduced. This may require several
With vaporization, a channel is immediately opened, allowing
the free flow of urine.
Studies comparing laser methods with transurethral resection
of the prostate (TURP) have found that:
Laser therapies improve symptoms about the same as TURP.1, 2
Laser therapies improve quality of life about as well as TURP.3
Compared to men who have TURP, men who have a laser therapy have a shorter hospital stay.
Men who have a laser therapy need to have another treatment more often than men who have TURP.3
Other considerations include the following:
Some men may choose laser therapy because of the shorter hospital
stay and lower risk of complications.
Laser prostatectomy causes
less bleeding than other types of surgery. But discomfort during urination
lasts longer after laser surgery, and a
catheter may be needed for a longer time.
Prostate surgery using a laser may not be available in all
WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise
March 23, 2010
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