Often, prostate problems in men such as benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), for instance, is often associated with age. Urologists and primary care professionals face significant challenges while treating such issues. In the recent past surgery was the only therapeutic cornerstone while treating these problems, especially when pharmacological options are exhausted. However, all that is past. In this era of advancements in minimally-invasive technologies, the ‘UroLift’ device formally known as the prostatic urethral lift (PUL), is the latest addition to the urologist’s treatment toolkit especially while treating men with bothersome lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS) secondary to BPH. This non-surgical treatment option is supposed to deliver “sustainable improvements” in patients with prostate problems. The other advantages of Urolift are that it has a robust safety profile and seldom results in sexual dysfunction in men…post treatment. Further, this unique non-invasive treatment procedure has gained wide regulatory approval starting from approvals granted by the US FDA in 2013 to UK’s National Institute of Clinical Excellence in 2015.
That’s not all: worldwide around 3.5 million people have benefited from this unique and innovative procedure. Accordingly, this blog will discuss the treatment procedure of UroLift as well as its key advantages.
The “Urolift” procedure
As opposed to other endoscopic, minimally-invasive treatments for prostate diseases such as BPH for instance, Urolift is highly scientific and contemporary. The device in itself is a custom designed disposable cartridge that comprise of a nitinol capsular tab and a urethral stainless steel tab (8 mm) that is carefully bridged in between by a nonabsorbable polyethylene terephthalate (PET) monofilament suture. Under the “UroLift” procedure, the number of implants usually depend on the size of adenoma (a non-cancerous tumor). This procedure can be safely performed.
Patient selection process
While performing this technique, it is important that patients are selected carefully, so as to achieve success in the operation. It is certainly not recommended for patients who suffer from obstructions in the bladder outflow. Overall, a patient is excluded based on three key factors. Firstly, men who have a medical condition of obstructing median lobes are contraindicated and therefore before performing this procedure they need to undergo an investigation called preoperative cystoscopy: a medical process by which the anatomy and size of the prostate is determined. Secondly, it is also not recommended for patients who have a large prostate burdens (>100 ml). Finally, patients with a history of urinary retention are also not eligible to undergo this procedure.
Advantages of Urolift
The UroLift device comes with a number of advantages. With this device the surgeon can maintain a distance from the bladder neck while implanting the device. This in turn helps immensely in the preservation of antegrade ejaculation. Perhaps, the greatest asset of Urolift is that there are very minimum cases of sexual dysfunction that are reported in many studies published in international medical journals. An overnight hospital stay can be avoided in most patients. Furthermore, the biggest advantage is the patient is often catheterfree on discharge. These are some of the key reasons why UroLift is expected to emerge as an attractive option for men wanting to preserve the sexual function as well as avoid surgery. Added to this, the patient can return early to work and it even results in symptoms getting rapidly subsided. Thus, Urolift is gaining in popularity amongst patients with prostate problems worldwide, especially in the developed West.
No deaths have ever been attributed to the UroLift surgery. Importantly, side effects of the procedure are usually mild and self-limiting.
The other major advantage is the UroLift system is a novel technology that helps in adopting a bespoke patient-centred approach. This in turn yields significant improvement in symptoms. UroLift procedure is also likely to attract younger patients (with suitable prostate anatomy) who wish to preserve sexual function or for that matter, want to avoid surgery.
Using the UroLift intervention ensures that there is very minimum downtime for the patients. Plus, unlike a conventional surgery, a patient doesn’t undergo any pain or the attendant discomfort.
In conclusion, several studies have indicated that the UroLift procedure has the ability to deliver long-lasting results. Most men who undergo this procedure experience the same level of relief five to eight years after the intervention was conducted. thereby making it a nonsurgical alternative to prostate problems.