The UroLift System is a new procedure for treating symptoms caused by benign enlargement of the prostate gland.
The prostate is a walnut-sized gland that sits beneath the bladder. The urethra, the pipe allowing urine to exit the bladder via the penis, passes through the prostate. As men get older the prostate can enlarge, compressing the urethra and making it difficult to pass urine. These men may develop symptoms such as a weak urinary stream, waking up at night to urinate, or being unable to defer urination when the urge arises.
UroLift involves placing small permanent retractors into the prostate to lift and hold enlarged tissue out of the way, thereby relieving obstruction. Typically four to five retractors are used per patient. There is no cutting, heating or removal of prostate tissue.
UroLift is ideal for men with mild to moderate symptoms who wish to avoid medication, in particular with regard to sexual side-effects. It is less invasive than TURP and can often be performed as a day case without need for a catheter.
Before Your Surgery
Certain medications increase the risk of bleeding and need to be stopped prior to surgery. You should tell your surgeon about all prescription medicines, over the counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements that you are taking. Some patients, such as those with artificial heart valves or high blood clotting risk, will need to take blood-thinning injections whilst coming off their tablet medications.
After Your Surgery
You may return to normal activity, unless otherwise advised, from the day following your procedure. You may notice some blood in the urine, as well as burning when passing urine, for a few days after the procedure. Drink plenty of fluids during this time.
Specific Risks and Side Effects of Urolift
- Difficulty with urination including stinging, burning, increased frequency of urination and urgency.
- Blood in the urine is uncommon, but may occur. If this occurs it can easily be managed by drinking more fluids. Occasionally, a catheter will be required for up to 24 hours to deal with bothersome bleeding immediately following the procedure.
- Urinary tract infection.
- At four years there is a 13% chance of requiring further surgery, such as TURP, due to progression of symptoms despite initial success with UroLift.
- Anaesthetic complications, such as heart attack or stroke.
- Infection, for example of the urinary tract, chest, or other sites.
- Bleeding which may occasionally require a blood transfusion.
- Clots forming in the legs (DVT), which may then pass to the lungs.
- Allergic reactions to drugs, antiseptics, or wound dressings.
- Death is extremely rare after any surgical procedure. The risk of death relates to the patient’s general health and the complexity of the surgery, and may arise due to either anaesthetic or surgical complications.
When to contact your surgeon
- Heavy bleeding, with clots in the urine.
- Difficulty emptying the bladder, or unexplained leakage.
- If you develop an infection – this can present with a temperature, smelly urine, or burning and stinging when passing urine.