How effective is laser treatment for benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH)?

Updated: Feb 19, 2021
  • Author: Levi A Deters, MD; Chief Editor: Edward David Kim, MD, FACS  more...
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Laser treatment usually results in decreased bleeding, fluid absorption, and length of hospital stay, as well as decreased incidence of impotence and retrograde ejaculation when compared with standard TURP. However, healing from laser treatment does not occur until after a period when dead cells slough; thus, patients may experience urinary urgency or irritation, resulting in frequent or uncomfortable urination for a few weeks.

The results of laser therapy vary from one another because not all wavelengths yield the same tissue effects. For example, interstitial lasers (eg, indigo lasers) are designed to heat tissue within the confines of the prostate gland and spread radiant energy at relatively low energy levels. They do not directly involve the urethral portion; thus, irritative symptoms following the procedure are potentially reduced.

Contact lasers such as KTP or holmium, on the other hand, are designed to cut and vaporize at extremely high temperatures They usually bring about more relief of urinary symptoms than treatment with medicines, but not always as much as is provided with TURP. However, KTP laser vaporization and holmium laser enucleation yield results that rival those of TURP.

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