The NHS has approved the utilisation of lasers in the treatment of enlarged prostates, in an attempt to cut down on hospital waiting times.
It is also believed that the technique will enable recovery times for those suffering from the difficulty to be reduced.
Around 60%t of men over the age of 60 suffer from prostate enlargement, which can mean increasing lavatory trips at night and frequent urinary tract infections.
At present surgery is the only form of treatment for this condition, but this necessitates an overnight stay, and can also lead to complications.
GreenLight XPS, which uses a laser to destroy the excess tissue in the gland, achieves the same ultimate results as previous techniques, but in less time.
Studies into the treatment discovered that it is just as effective as standard operations, but patients spent a third less time in hospital and many fewer hours fitted with a catheter.
Professor Carole Longson, the director of the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice), reflected that the condition can have a seriously negative influence over elderly men’s lives, and that this new technique offers an improvement in standard of living for many.
“Whilst benign enlarged prostates may not be life-threatening, the condition can affect men’s lives significantly. A procedure to reduce the amount of excess prostate tissue can improve the quality of life. Using the GreenLight XPS is more convenient for patients than other surgical procedures as they don’t need to stay in hospital overnight and they can return to normal activity faster.”
Nice already believes that around 14,000 men suffering with an enlarged prostate could benefit from treatment with this device on an annual basis.
However, the aforementioned Longson warned that further evidence must be acquired that the method is as effective as the existing approach to the issue.
Longson believes it is reasonable to offer the new system on an experimental basis, but that doctors should not be negligent and offer it on a routine basis.
“We recommend that specialists collaborate to collect and publish data if GreenLight XPS is used in treating enlarged prostates in men classed as high risk. This will help improve the evidence base and could enable future recommendations on its use,” Longson commented.