Two techniques can effectively treat men with an enlarged prostate gland

The results will inform national guidance and ensure that men are receiving the best available treatment.


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As men get older, it is common for their prostate gland to get bigger. The prostate gland sits at the bladder’s exit like a collar, so when it enlarges, it can be difficult, or even impossible, for men to pass urine or cause other bothersome urinary symptoms.

A new study led by the Bristol Urological Institute has shown two procedures to treat men with an enlarged prostate gland are both effective. 

The trial compared the current ‘gold’ standard treatment of TURP (Transurethral Resection of the Prostate) to a laser technique called ThuVARP (Thulium Laser Transurethral Vaporesection of the Prostate).

The trial was carried out as there was a suggestion that the laser procedure may result in a shorter stay in the hospital following the operation, and reduced complications such as bleeding than the TURP.

There were similar improvements in patient-reported urinary symptoms at one year after surgery for both procedures. Urinary flow also improved successfully, although slightly more after the TURP than the laser procedure. Men reported similar quality of life and sexual symptoms after both procedures and high satisfaction with surgery. There was no difference between the two procedures in-hospital stay or complications, including bleeding. TURP was slightly more cost-effective and took less time than the laser procedure.

Professor Hashim Hashim at North Bristol NHS Trust and chief investigator of the study said“Overall, this trial has shown that both procedures effectively treat men with lower tract symptoms. The results will inform national guidance and ensure that men are receiving the best available treatment.”

Journal Reference:
  1. Prof Hashim FRCs et al. Thulium laser transurethral vaporesection of the prostate versus transurethral resection of the prostate for men with lower urinary tract symptoms or urinary retention (UNBLOCS): a randomized controlled trial. DOI: 10.1016/S0140-6736(20)30537-7


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