A procedure called aquablation offers a new approach to treating an enlarged prostate.
In the photo above, Dr. Gopal Badlani uses a robot-guided water jet to treat enlarged prostate.
The medical term is “benign prostatic hyperplasia,” or BPH. Most men know it simply as “enlarged prostate,” and hope to avoid it as they grow older.
More than 12 million American men, most of them 60 or older, are being treated for non-cancerous enlargement of the prostate gland. Symptoms include a frequent need to urinate, increased nighttime urination and an inability to completely empty the bladder.
For more severe cases, pills might not give much relief. Surgery can help symptoms but can also cause sexual problems. So, many men simply avoid treatment.
Relief in sight for hundreds of Veterans
At Salisbury VA Health Care System in North Carolina, VA offers Veterans with BPH another option called aquablation. It’s more effective than pills but has fewer side effects than surgery.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently approved it for use with patients.
The doctor removes excess prostate tissue with a robot-controlled water jet, using 3D imaging to guide it. The procedure relieves symptoms with less risk of sexual side effects.
“As Salisbury Chief of Urology, I was part of the two trial studies that led the FDA to approve aquablation,” said Dr. Badlani. “The symptoms of an enlarged prostate can be frustrating and upsetting. There are hundreds of Veterans suffering from BPH in our area. That’s why we are so pleased by the results we see from this new treatment.
“One older Veteran who recently had the procedure said, ‘I’m glad I did it. I’m a blessed man, I’ll put it that way.’ When I told him that he would no longer have to take drugs for his symptoms he said, ‘That sounds pretty good. I got rid of two pills right there.’
“We believe this treatment has the potential to change the way we treat men with BPH in a very basic way.”
Marlous Black is a Public Affairs Officer at the Salisbury VA Medical Center
Photos by Luke Thompson