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Prostate enlargement (benign prostatic hyperplasia) is considered so common that most men will likely experience BPH at one time or another during their lifetime. According to one estimate, approximately 90 percent of men in their 70s and 80s may have an enlarged prostate. Normally, it's a condition that's manageable with alpha blockers, combination drug therapy, and other medications.
If symptoms get worse or persist, however, a minimally invasive BPH treatment that might be an option is the UroLift® System.
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The UroLift® System involves the use the UroLift® Delivery Device to insert implants into the walnut-sized prostate gland that's located by the bladder. The implants push lobes apart and restores proper flow to the urethra – the tube that takes urine out of the body.
A small needle is released from the device to permanently insert implants to keep prostate lobes sufficiently separated. The device used to insert the implant is then removed. The UroLift® System does not destroy prostate tissue; it simply shifts lobe position to improve urine flow.
UroLift® treatment is typically meant for men who are either not having success with medication to manage their BPH or individuals who wish to stop relying on medication because of concerns about potential side effects with long-term use. Generally, this system works best on men with prostates that are small to moderately sized.
Even men who may not be "ideal" candidates for the procedure may notice a reduction in BPH symptoms with the UroLift® System. Symptoms suggesting that a prostate may be enlarged include:
Prior to recommending the UroLift® System, a urologist sometimes performs a visual examination of the urinary tract to check for signs of a urinary tract infection (UTI). The prostate and bladder may also be evaluated with a procedure known as a cystoscopy, which involves the insertion of a lighted tube with an attached lens that's inserted slowly through the urethra.
Because the UroLift® System does not involve surgical alteration of the prostate gland or other structures, an often-appreciated benefit associated with this treatment is preservation of ejaculation and other sexual functions. There is also no need to use a catheter after the implants are inserted. In some cases, UroLift® treatment may be effective enough that more invasive procedures can be avoided.
Because it's an outpatient procedure normally performed under local anesthesia, men are often able to return to regular activities shortly after having the device inserted. If symptoms persist following implantation, heat application, radiofrequency ablation, and laser treatments may be discussed. Some BPH patients may need to have part of their prostate gland removed (prostatectomy) if UroLift® treatment does not sufficiently eliminate or control symptoms.
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