Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH) is a condition caused by an enlarged prostatic gland. If the prostate, which is located just below the bladder and surrounds the urethra, grows too big, it blocks the flow of urine through the urethra because prostatic tissue takes up too much space. Contrary to prostate cancer, BPH is a benign condition, i.e. healthy tissue is not being destroyed. BPH is a space problem related to the squeezing of the urethra by the enlarged prostate.
Symptoms of men suffering from BPH all relate to obstruction of urinary flow from the bladder though the urethra. BPH symptoms include:
Untreated BPH leads to increasingly worsening symptoms and may result in complete inability to urinate (Acute Urinary Retention, AUR), which is treated by inserting a catheter to relieve the bladder, or through surgery.
Incidence and Causes
BPH is a very common condition amongst men over 50. Causes are not well known but international statistics suggest the Western lifestyle facilitates development of BPH.
The aim of BPH treatment is to remove excess prostatic tissue that obstructs urinary flow. One medium to remove tissue is laser light. Dornier MedTech, pioneer in development of surgical lasers, has developed UroBeam, a laser that specifically addresses the needs of patients suffering from BPH.
Using a thin endoscope, laser light is applied on the prostate, causing vaporisation of the excess prostatic tissue. Generally this procedure is done under spinal anaesthesia. This form of BPH treatment has the advantages that it is quick and less invasive than other treatment approaches, while effectively removing excess tissue in a single session with minimal side effects.