Treatment of the Enlarged Prostate With the Green Light Laser
The Green Light Laser treatment is performed in the hospital or outpatient surgical center. It is done with the patient asleep or after administration of a spinal anesthetic. Most men leave the hospital after the procedure without a catheter and have marked improvement in their urinary symptoms. The side effects after the procedure may include burning on urination, frequency of urination, and blood in the urine for a few days. The procedure is very effective in 85% of patients and is known to have results that last for many years. The procedure is much less invasive with fewer side effects than the standard transurethral resection of the prostate or TURP. There have been nearly 400,000 men who have received the GreenLight Laser throughout the world.
Before treatment your physician or anesthologist may give you medication to help you relax during the procedure. You will also receive an antibiotic before the procedure to avoid infections. You will be asked to use an enema before the procedure so you will not have to worry about having a bowel movement for a few days afterwards. Ask your doctor about your medications such as blood thinners and even aspirin which may be stopped for a few days before the procedure. If you take regular medications, you need to inform the doctor as you may be able to take these medications with a sip of water before you come to the hospital. You will be asked to avoid taking any other food or fluid after midnight before your procedure. It is suggested that you wear loose or comfortable clothing and that you have a ride home after the procedure.
Let’s look at what you can expect if you have a GreenLight Laser procedure. You will be provided anesthesia that will allow you to sleep through the entire procedure and not experience any pain or discomfort. Once you are asleep or the anesthesia block takes effect, your physician will insert a cystoscope, which is a small, lighted tube through the urethra. The laser fiber is introduced through the cystoscope and advanced into the urethra at the location of the prostate. With the laser fiber in the proper position, the doctor uses the fiber to vaporize or remove the enlarged prostate tissue until the obstruction is completely relieved. The procedure requires 30-60 minutes to complete. At the end of the procedure the physician may place a temporary catheter to let urine drain from your bladder. You will then be taken to the recovery room until the anesthetic wears off and given an opportunity to urinate after the catheter is removed. If you can urinate, you will be discharged from the hospital or the ambulatory treatment center.
The side effects after the procedure may include a small amount of burning on urination, frequency of urination, and blood in the urine. Most of these side effects will subside within a few days after the procedure. You may pass some prostate tissue for several days or weeks after the procedure. The procedure is very effective in 85% of patients and is known to have results that last for many years. The procedure is much less invasive with fewer side effects than the standard transurethral resection of the prostate or TURP.
If there is bleeding after the procedure, you are coming from a great distance from your home to the hospital, or if you are on certain medications such as blood thinners, the doctor may decide to leave the catheter for a few hours or over night and have the catheter removed the next day. If the doctor decides to leave the catheter in place, heshe will tell you when to come back to the office for the removal of the catheter or the tube.
You can expect to return to normal activities including sexual intimacy in three to four weeks after the procedure. Your doctor will probably recommend that you avoid bicycle riding for several additional weeks because the bike seat can irritate the prostate gland.
The risks and side effects of the GreenLight Laser include a small amount of bleeding, a slight risk of a urinary tract infection which can be treated with antibiotics, backward ejaculation where the semen moves into the bladder at the time of orgasm and then is evacuated with the next urination. The GreenLight Laser procedure does not effect potency or your erections. Erectile dysfunction is a rare side effect of the procedure. Finally, the procedure, which is usually very successful in improving your urinary symptoms, may not improve the symptoms and another procedure needs to be performed to treat the urinary problem.
So what will the procedure accomplish? You can expect an immediate improvement in your urinary symptoms. This means an improvement in the force and caliber of your urinary stream, less getting up at night to urinate, less frequency and urgency of urination. The bottom line, is that you can expect a marked improvement in your over all quality of life.
In summary, prostate enlargement is a common condition that affects most men after age 50. The diagnosis is easily made and there are several treatment options for treating the enlarged prostate gland. One of those options is the GreenLight laser. For more information, talk to your doctor.