What is Vaporization of the Prostate?
In some men, the prostate gland becomes enlarged and blocks the bladder by squeezing or growing into the urethra. Laser vaporization of the prostate is a minimally invasive surgical procedure that can relieve your symptoms by un-blocking the urethra.
Male Reproductive System
The prostate is located under the bladder and behind the penis. It is a walnut-sized gland that is part of the male reproductive system. It helps to make semen.
The Urethra is a tube that carries both urine and semen to the penis. It passes through the prostate which surrounds it like a donut.
In some men, the prostate gland becomes enlarged and blocks the bladder by squeezing or growing into the urethra
BPH – or Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia
- is the most common reason for enlarged prostate in men over 50,
- is not cancer,
- BPH can cause a blockage called BOO or Bladder Outlet Obstruction
Symptoms of prostate enlargement:
- incomplete bladder emptying, being unable to empty your bladder all of
- frequency, the need to urinate often
- intermittency, starting and stopping several times with urination
- urgency, feeling strongly that you “have to go”
- a urine stream that is weak, or dribbling
- straining to empty your bladder
- Nocturia or urinating frequently at night
Laser vaporization of the prostate is a minimally invasive surgical procedure that can relieve your symptoms by unblocking the urethra.
Your surgeon uses an instrument with a light and camera, called a scope.
A laser at the tip is guided through the urethra to vaporize and destroy the prostate tissue that has grown inward to block the urine flow.
This is different from the classic, older surgical techniques that cut out or remove the extra prostate tissue.
Let’s talk about what happens during the laser vaporization procedure.
What is the procedure for Laser Vaporization of the Prostate
To start, you are given general anesthesia to make you asleep, and pain-free during the procedure. You are positioned carefully.
An instrument with a light and camera, called a scope, is then gently inserted into the urethra. A numbing gel is used to help the scope glide easily.
The surgeon is able to reach the prostate and see the tissue causing the blockage.
Your doctor uses a laser thru the scope to vaporize and destroy excess tissue from the prostate, clearing the blockage.
When the surgery is complete, the scope is removed. Your surgeon may place a Foley catheter to help drain your urine for a few days.
A Foley catheter is a thin tube inserted through your urethra and into your bladder. The tube will keep your bladder empty to allow you to heal and feel more comfortable. The foley is easily removed a few days after the procedure. The balloon is deflated and the tube simply slides out.
The advantages of laser vaporization:
- it can be faster with less bleeding and
- can be safer for patients who are at high risk for bleeding.
- And many patients have a faster recovery
The major disadvantage of laser vaporization is no tissue is taken out for testing. Because the extra, enlarged prostate tissue, is destroyed not removed.
Be sure to discuss with your surgeon why this method has been recommended for you.
Recovery Time for Vaporization of the Prostate
This procedure is usually done as an outpatient, which means that you may not have to stay overnight in the hospital. You will most likely be sent home with a Foley catheter for a few days.
After prostate surgery some men will feel better quickly, often it can take much longer.
Risks of Vaporization of the Prostate
There will be some blood in your urine right after surgery and you will have some pain. It may take a few days or weeks until you can urinate without pain or difficulty. Urinary Retention and Urinary tract infection can happen,
Call your doctor if you:
- cannot urinate,
- have a fever, worsening pain or bright red bleeding that doesn’t stop
Scarring to delicate nerves and tissue can cause lasting changes after prostate surgery, including
- Erectile dysfunction, for 1 percent, or 1 in 100 men, will have ED or some trouble with their erections after laser vaporization
- Incontinence or leaking urine for about 5 percent or 5 in 100 men
- most men will notice less semen or may have a dry ejaculation
You may have questions about sex after the procedure.
Usually, there are no changes to your erection or strength of orgasm. However, you can have less semen, or a dry ejaculation because of something called retrograde ejaculation. Retrograde ejaculation happens because your semen may now go backwards into your bladder instead of out of your penis with orgasm.
To avoid cancellation or complications from anesthesia or your procedure, you the patient should be prepared to support your care team:
- Be ready to verify or confirm with your care team your:
- list of medical problems and surgeries,
- All current medications, vitamins, and supplements
- current smoking, alcohol and drug use
- Allergies to medications, latex, and tape or other substances
Let your nurse, doctor, and care-team know if you are having unexpected pain, dizziness or trouble breathing
Be sure that you understand why this procedure has been recommended for you.
This is considered major surgery even though you may go home the same day. All surgery and anesthesia have a small risk of serious injury or death.
If you have questions about this procedure or need further information about alternatives, ask your surgeon.
This video is intended as a tool to help you to better understand this procedure. It is not intended to replace any discussion with or recommendations by your surgeon.