Laser Prostate Treatment for BPH
What is GreenLight™ Laser Therapy?
GreenLight™ Laser Therapy is a procedure performed with a small fiber that is inserted into the urethra through a cystoscope. The fiber delivers high powered laser energy which quickly heats up the prostate tissue, causing the tissue to vaporize. This process is continued until all of the enlarged prostate tissue has been removed. Natural urine flow is rapidly restored and urinary symptoms are quickly relieved in most patients.
GreenLight™ Laser Therapy combines the effectiveness of the “gold standard” transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP) surgical procedure with fewer side effects. The result is a wide open channel for urine flow to pass through, but with fewer risks of side effects, including erectile dysfunction and bleeding, common with TURP.
GreenLight™ Laser Therapy is generally performed on an outpatient basis so no overnight stay is needed.
What to Expect During A GreenLight™ Laser Therapy Treatment
Each patient is different, therefore treatment procedures may vary. Below is a general description of the procedure and what to expect:
- Before treatment your physician may give you medication to help you relax during the procedure.
- Other medications that your physician may give you are to avoid infections.
- You may be asked to empty your bladder.
- You will be brought into the procedure room and moved to the treatment bed where you will lie on your back. You will be provided anesthesia that will allow you to sleep through the entire procedure.
- Depending on the treatment center, other types of anesthesia may be used, including spinal block or pudendal block.
- Once you are asleep or the anesthesia block takes effect, your physician will insert a cystoscope through the urethra.
- The laser fiber is introduced through the cystoscope and advanced into the urethra at the location of the prostate.
Since this is an outpatient procedure, you will typically go home within a few hours after treatment. You should have someone drive you home after the procedure. A catheter is placed in your bladder at the end of the procedure which typically stays in several days.
Most patients experience very rapid relief of symptoms and a dramatic improvement in urine flow. This typically occurs within 24 hours of the procedure. However, medical history, health condition and other factors can influence treatment recovery.
What are the Advantages of GreenLight™ Laser Therapy Treatment?
- Rapid urine flow improvement
- Quick return to normal activities
- Virtually bloodless procedure
- A definitive, long lasting treatment
- Less than 1% reported cases of erectile dysfunction
- Minimal need for catheterization (generally 3-5 days post op)
- Outpatient procedure in otherwise healthy patients
- Over 375,000 patients treated worldwide
What are the Risks of a GreenLight™ Laser Therapy Treatment?
Every medical treatment may have side effects. The same is true for GreenLight Laser Therapy. Below are the most common side effects experienced with GreenLight:
- Hematuria – Blood in the urine
- Bladder spasm or urgency – Cramping in the bladder or an urgent need to urinate
- Irritation of the urinary tract – Frequent urination, burning sensation
- Retrograde ejaculation
What are the Alternative Treatments for BPH?
Alternative treatments for BPH are:
Microwave or heat therapies
More invasive surgical procedures
Frequently Asked Questions
Is BPH a type of cancer? No, BPH is not a type of cancer
Do I have to stay in the hospital after a GreenLight procedure? GreenLight is generally an outpatient procedure. Typically, no overnight stay in the hospital is required, but it will depend on your individual condition.
Will the GreenLight Laser Therapy treatment affect my sexual function? More than 99% of patients treated with GreenLight Laser Therapy did NOT experience any form of erectile dysfunction following treatment. If you are sexually active, you can look forward to remaining so. However, 33% of patients experience retrograde ejaculation.
How long before my symptoms improve? Most experience very rapid relief of symptoms and improvement in urine flow. However, medical history, health conditions, and other factors can influence treatment and recovery.
Will I continue to need BPH medications after the GreenLight Laser Therapy treatment? As with any medication, ask your doctor what regimen is appropriate for you. However, most patients are able to discontinue taking their BPH medications within a few weeks after the treatment.
Is GreenLight Laser Therapy covered by insurance? Yes, GreenLight Laser Therapy is covered by Medicare and most private insurers.
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- Increase your fluid intake
- If you see blood in the urine, decrease your activity and increase fluids
- Empty catheter drainage bag as necessary
- No driving until after your catheter has been removed
- No sex for 2 weeks
- No lifting greater than 20 lbs for 3 weeks
- Avoid constipation
You can expect:
- Some increased feelings of having to urinate
- Some burning with urination, this should improve with in a few days
- Some blood in the urine
- Pain medication may cause constipation, you may take a laxative if this occurs
You should call the office:
- If you develop a temperature of 100.6 or greater
- If you experience excessive bleeding with large clots (larger than a peanut)
- If your catheter stops draining and you feel your bladder is not draining
- If you are not contacted for a follow up appointment one business day after your surgery
- If you develop calf tenderness or swelling