IT’s the most common male health problem seen by the NHS, affecting more than 70 per cent of men aged over 70.
But traditional treatments for enlarged prostate – which causes urinary problems and can seriously affect quality of life – risk various side effects.
Now, a new treatment has become available on the NHS in Yorkshire for the first time, a move welcomed by an expert from Leeds.
The UroLift System, a device implanted in a minimally invasive procedure, will be fast-tracked for funding by NHS England.
Oliver Kayes, consultant urologist and honorary senior lecturer at Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, said it was an “important new opportunity”.
“Introducing the UroLift System in West Yorkshire will deliver massive benefits to both patients and to the NHS,” he added.
Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH), also known as enlarged prostate, causes the prostate gland that surrounds the male urethra to become enlarged and begin to obstruct the urinary system.
Mr Kayes said: “It’s important that men remember that their prostate can get bigger as they get older, but more often those changes are benign, and are not a sign of cancer, though the increasing size of the prostate can cause bothersome and worrying symptoms.”
Medication is often the first treatment offered, but may not provide longlasting relief, while side effects can include dizziness and headaches.
The alternative has traditionally been surgery to open the blocked urethra, which can be very effective but risks permanent side effects such as urinary incontinence and sexual problems.
“There is some evidence that men worry about the side effects of prostate treatments, including drug therapy as well as surgery, and this anxiety stops them from seeking help,” Mr Kayes added.
“But while drug therapy does carry risk of side effects, modern surgical treatments for an enlarged prostate such as the UroLift System are minimally invasive, day case procedures which involve just a few hours spent in hospital and are performed under local anaesthesia or sedation.”
He said that Leeds hospitals had recently been working to improve and their care of men with enlarged prostate: “We anticipate the improvement in streamlining this pathway and the introduction of UroLift, as well as our state-of-the-art robotic surgery programme for prostate cancer, will provide additional, far-reaching benefits for other patients seeking urgent cancer treatments and emergency urological care in Leeds by increasing by day-to-day capacity and access to these dedicated services.
* The UroLift system uses permanent implants to relieve prostate obstruction and open the urethra directly without cutting, heating, or removing tissue.
It can be implanted during a minimally invasive procedure carried out at an outpatient appointment.
Studies have shown patients experience rapid relief of symptoms and a significant improvement in quality of life, without risk of the worrying side effects that traditional surgery carries.