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BPH and Bladder Health

The bladder is a muscle and storage unit for urine. The kidneys filter our blood and generate urine every day, which then travels down the ureters and is stored in the bladder. As the bladder fills we get the sensation of urinary urgency and when we are ready, the bladder squeezes the urine through the urethra so more urine can be stored.

The prostate gland is a walnut sized structure that is located at the opening of the bladder. As men age, the prostate enlarges and may eventually obstruct the flow of urine out of the bladder. This condition is often referred to as benign prostatic hyperplasia or BPH. About 60% of men will have BPH by the age of 60 and almost all men as they approach age 80.

The bladder tries to overcome the obstruction by contracting more forcefully. Over time this leads to permanent damage to the bladder which can be seen during a procedure called cystoscopy. A cystoscopy is a procedure during which a urologist introduces a very small camera into the bladder to evaluate and diagnose bladder and prostate disease.

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In the past urologist had limited surgical options to treat BPH. One of these options is called transurethral resection of the prostate or TURP. Many people in the community refer to this as “The Roto-Rooter”. This procedure uses electric current to cut and remove prostate tissue. This requires general anesthesia and may often require short or long term catheterization. TURP has several risks associated with it including Erectile Dysfunction, Dry Orgasm, heavy bleeding requiring transfusions, permanent urinary incontinence, low sodium in the blood, which can be life threatening if untreated. There is also long term risk of scar tissue formation requiring additional surgery.

All other minimally invasive options for BPH involve the cutting, heating, or freezing of the prostate which all carry similar risks and do not measure up to the gold standard of the TURP procedure.

Therefore, patients would be offered medication which carry significant side effects and only mask the symptoms but do not address the underlying problem. These medications can cause side effects such as low blood pressure leading to falls in the elderly and sexual dysfunction. Did you know that even one dose of the popular BPH drug tamsulosin (Flomax) can predispose you to a dangerous complication during cataract surgery known as Intraoperative Floppy Iris Syndrome?

UroLift, however, is a unique minimally invasive procedure that is does not involve heating, cutting, or freezing of tissue and therefore does not carry many of the risks associated with the above procedures. The idea is simple, by strategically placing small sutures, the prostate is pulled out of the way like a curtain. This procedure has been shown to be safe and effective for the treatment of BPH with lasting results. UroLift is FDA approved and recommended by the American Urological Association as a treatment modality for the treatment of BPH, especially for patients who are concerned with erectile and ejaculatory function, which is often affected by alternative therapies. In expert hands, UroLift can be a life changing procedure that is effective and long lasting. 

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The UroLift procedure, however, is not right for everyone. In order to determine if you are a good candidate for this procedure you need to see a urologist who is experienced with UroLift. Fill out the questionnaire or call Dr J. S. Rad to make an appointment for a full evaluation.

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