The sudden, overwhelming need to find a bathroom. Frequent nighttime trips to the toilet. Difficulty urinating, including starting and stopping. It’s a list of symptoms men with an enlarged prostate—called benign prostatic hyperplasia—are all too familiar with.
A newer minimally invasive solution known as Aquablation or waterjet ablation combines the advantages of robotics with advanced imaging to give men back their prostate health—so they can focus on more important things than finding the nearest bathroom.
“For the first time, we’re using the benefits of robotic guidance and real-time visualization to treat BPH,” says Michael Gazzaniga, MD, a urologist with Providence St. Jude, explaining no incision is needed, as the prostate is reached through the urethra. “The result has been greater precision, more thorough removal of tissue and a very low risk of side effects.”
During the 20-minute procedure, the robot generates a high-powered stream of unheated water to remove the obstructing tissue, exactly following the surgical map created by the surgeon. “Aquablation allows very precise tissue removal, customized to the patient’s specific anatomy,” explains Eric Tygenhof, MD, also a Providence St. Jude urologist, who adds that the image-guided procedure is ideal for men with large prostates. “Because we can clearly visualize the edges of the prostate, we can safely remove more excess tissue and create a better outcome.” Patients spend a night in the hospital and, once home, return to normal activities within a week.
BPH affects half of all U.S. men 50 and older—and 90 percent of men over 85— and medications are typically first-line treatment. But because the prostate continues to grow, symptoms often resume over time. Left untreated, BPH can cause the bladder to weaken and lose the ability to empty completely, potentially leading to complications like urinary tract infections, bladder stones and kidney damage.
Both urologists call Aquablation an important advance in prostate health. “This unique therapy is highly effective, long-lasting, heat and incision-free,” says Dr. Tygenhof, “while giving men back the prostate health they had 20 years ago.”
To learn more contact Drs. Gazzaniga and Tygenhof at 714-870-5970.
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