What is it?
GreenLight laser is a technique that can treat the symptoms of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). This condition affects roughly 40% of men over the age of 50 in the UK, and involves an enlargement of the prostate gland.
This leads to blocking the urethra and to a thickening of the bladder tissue. You will consequently have trouble passing urine, as the urine flow won’t be normal, and it will stagnate within the bladder. That is why those who have BPH can feel like the bladder hasn’t emptied completely, feeling like they need to pass urine much more frequently.
GreenLight laser has been studied to address BPH with a minimally invasive treatment that can be done at your local outpatient clinic. You will be under local anaesthetics (epidural or spinal anaesthesia).
What is it for?
This technique is beneficial for people who have cardiovascular conditions or coagulation disorders: compared to when undergoing conventional surgery there is no need to stop taking life-saving medications such as anticoagulants and antiplatelet agents. People with an artificial pacemaker can have this procedure done as well, as there is no need to use an acusector (which would interfere with the artificial pacemaker).
GreenLight laser can safely treat even the more enlarged prostates, something which could not be done with a minimally invasive procedure until a few years ago. With this technique, it is also possible to do a biopsy at the same time, to confirm or exclude a potential diagnosis of prostate cancer.
What does it involve?
GreenLight laser is an endoscopic procedure. A laser fibre cable is inserted into the urethra, and a high-precision cytoscope eliminates the excess prostatic tissue by vaporising it. This technique ensures immediate coagulation of the blood vessels, thus reducing the risk of bleeding.
The laser has a high-energy (180W) and a wavelength of 532 nanomillimetres.
After the procedure, you’ll stay in hospital for the night and you’ll use a catheter for the next 24 hours. You can go back to your daily life after a couple of days.
Thanks to the immediate coagulation at the operation site, the risk of a haemorrhage is minimal. The risk of impotence, recurrent BPA or urinary incontinence after this procedure is minimal as well, whereas these factors may arise as a complication after traditional surgery.
You will immediately see the results of the procedure and you can pass urine normally after.
Other treatment options
Other treatments for benign prostatic hyperplasia include: