Prostate laser surgery is used to relieve moderate to severe urinary symptoms caused by an enlarged prostate — a condition known as benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH).
During prostate laser surgery, your doctor inserts a scope through the tip of your penis into the tube that carries urine from your bladder (urethra). The prostate surrounds the urethra. A laser passed through the scope delivers energy that shrinks or removes excess tissue that is preventing urine flow.
Lasers use concentrated light to generate precise and intense heat. There are several different types of prostate laser surgery, including:
The type of laser surgery your doctor recommends will depend on several factors, including:
Prostate laser surgery helps reduce urinary symptoms caused by BPH, including:
Laser surgery might also be done to treat or prevent complications due to blocked urine flow, such as:
Laser surgery can offer several advantages over other methods of treating BPH, such as transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP) and open prostatectomy. The advantages can include:
Risks of laser surgery can include:
Serious long-term complications are less likely with prostate laser surgery than with traditional surgery.
Several days before surgery, your doctor might recommend that you stop taking medications that increase your risk of bleeding, such as:
You are likely to be prescribed an antibiotic to prevent urinary tract infection.
Arrange transportation because you won't be able to drive yourself home after the procedure that day or generally if you have a catheter in the bladder.
Before surgery you will be given either general anesthesia — which means you'll be unconscious during the procedure — or spinal anesthesia, which means you'll remain conscious. Exactly what you can expect during and after prostate laser surgery varies depending on the particular type of laser and technique used.
A narrow fiber-optic scope is inserted through the tip of your penis into the urethra. The laser inserted through the scope is used to destroy, vaporize or cut out the prostate tissue blocking urine flow. Depending on the procedure, your doctor might also use instruments to remove cut pieces of prostate tissue from the bladder.
You'll likely have a urinary catheter in place because of swelling that blocks urine flow. If you're unable to urinate after the tube is removed, your doctor might reinsert the catheter to allow you to heal or give you catheters that you can insert on your own a few times a day until swelling goes down and you can urinate normally.
You might also notice:
Depending on the type of prostate laser surgery you have, you might go home afterwards or need to stay in the hospital overnight.
Your doctor is likely to recommend that you:
Prostate laser surgery improves urinary flow for most men. Results are often long lasting.
Sometimes, the laser surgery doesn't remove all of the prostate tissue blocking urine flow or the tissue grows back, and further treatment is needed. See your doctor if you notice any worsening urinary symptoms.