New procedure at UH offers alternative to medication and invasive prostate surgery

Posted at 5:23 PM, Oct 11, 2017

Enlargement of the prostate is extremely common in men over 50 and can cause a lot of problems. Traditionally, it is treated with medicine or invasive surgery, but now there is another option.

The new alternative was recently introduced at University Hospitals and only News 5 was there to see how it's done.

Don Williams was on medication for his enlarged prostate for years. He says it helped a little, but it wasn't doing enough.

“I was going to the bathroom at night sometimes three or four times and it was often urgent,” he explained.

“Medication, unfortunately, is not without side effects,” noted his urologist, Dr. Irina Jaeger.

Williams was aware of surgical options, but they meant cutting or removing tissue.

“He was always very hesitant to have a more invasive procedure,” said Dr. Jaeger. “He's actually had a few episodes where he couldn't urinate at all and he ended up in the emergency room and having a catheter put in, so he was ready to have something done.”

Williams was cleared for prostate cancer or any other issues and recently learned he was a candidate for a new procedure called UroLift.

“This procedure is a nice alternative, because the side effects are very minimal,” Dr. Jaeger explained. “It's a minimally invasive procedure. It can be done in the office, it can be done with a little bit of sedation. Results are pretty instant.”

Williams would be the first to have it done at University Hospitals.

To clear the blockage in the urine channel, the UroLift device deploys an implant that pulls the prostate away from the urethra on both sides and holds it in place. It typically takes four or five implants and the entire procedure takes less than 15 minutes.

“I'm very glad to have it done,” remarked Williams, who calls the difference "striking."

The implants are built to last, but since it is still a relatively new procedure, doctors don't know exactly for how long.

“The procedure has been around for about five years, so we have five years worth of data,” Dr. Jaeger said. “Past that, we don't know, but at this point, at five years, patients are still happy so the results are durable.”

According to Dr. Jaeger, the only side effects are a little irritation right after the procedure. Patients are typically back to work within a day or two