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Published on September 24, 2019

New Surgical Robot Relieves Urinary Tract Symptoms

Until recently, men dealing with urinary problems due to an enlarged prostate had limited treatment options. Traditional surgery for BPH (Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia, or enlarged prostate), required electrosurgical resection of the prostate, otherwise known as TURP (Trans Urethral Resection of the Prostate). Today, advancements in technology and techniques have led to the development of image-guided robotic surgery of the prostate, bringing some of the most advanced technology to the surgical treatment of BPH. By combining multi-view imaging precision of robotic surgery and the power of a water jet, prostate tissue can be removed safely and quickly with very little chance of side effects.

Palos Hospital is currently the only hospital in the Midwest offering a new robotic version of TURP surgery that uses a water jet, rather than electric current or a laser light. Aquablation® therapy--recently approved by the FDA--was specifically created to treat BPH.

“Aquablation® therapy is a unique way of treating BPH,” explains urologist Mark Lyon, MD. “It combines the best aspects of traditional surgery with the technology of robotics.”

An enlarged prostate is very common, since this gland can continue to grow throughout a man’s life. According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, one out of every two men over the age of 60 and up to 90 percent of men older than 80 are affected by BPH. Unfortunately, as the prostate grows, it can constrict the urethra, blocking the flow of urine and causing other issues including bladder, urinary tract or kidney problems.

Palos Hills resident Tom had suffered with an enlarged prostate for years but had put off surgery. When he finally visited his urologist, Dr. James Sylora, MD, to discuss surgery, Tom discovered his prostate was actually too large to be treated with other methods. Dr. Sylora, referred Tom to Dr. Lyon, who recommended Aquablation® as a viable alternative. Tom underwent the procedure, performed by Dr. Lyon, in April 2019.

It was not long after the surgery that Tom found his quality of life had dramatically improved. “Before I had the procedure, there were certain things I couldn’t do, like long car rides or drinking too much coffee. I would get up at least five times a night to go to the bathroom. Now I feel that my life is pretty much back to normal,” said Tom.

Up until now, patients with an enlarged prostate had the option of taking medications, which are typically only used for mild to moderate symptoms and can cause nausea, dizziness and sexual side effects, or undergoing a traditional surgical resection of the prostate. The heat used in traditional surgery is an effective method for removing enlarged tissue, but the possible complications are significant, including urinary tract infection, incontinence and erectile dysfunction. Understandably, many men have avoided treatment rather than suffer the risk of complications.

Could you have Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia? BPH symptoms include:

• Needing to urinate frequently or urgently

•Stopping or starting during urination

• Needing to push or strain during urination

• Having a weak urine stream

• Incomplete emptying of the bladder

•Needing to urinate frequently at night

Aquablation® therapy uses a surgical robot to assist with tissue removal in the treatment of BPH. The system incorporates three key elements for safe and quick removal of prostate tissue:

Real-time, multidimensional imaging – helps the surgeon plan the treatment based on the patient’s individual anatomy, preserving areas responsible for continence and sexual function

Robotic precision – allows for accurate execution of the treatment as planned by the surgeon

Heat-free waterjet – eliminates the risk of side effects and complications caused by heat-based treatments

The procedure typically takes less than an hour and usually requires an overnight hospital stay.

Start with your primary care doctor with concerns about BPH. Need a primary care doctor? Search here.