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Greenlight Laser Prostatectomy

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Consultants who perform this procedure

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Why would I need greenlight laser prostatectomy surgery?

Men with a benign (non-cancerous) swelling of the prostate, also called an enlarged prostate or benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), can benefit from this procedure to reduce the swelling in their prostate.

Greenlight laser prostatectomy surgery is also referred to as photovaporisation of the prostate.

What symptoms does greenlight laser prostatectomy surgery address?

This type of surgery helps men with an enlarged prostate that is pressing against the urethra (the tube that takes urine from your bladder to the outside of your body) making urination difficult.

It’s also suitable for some men with prostate cancer who are experiencing the same difficulty urinating.

A greenlight laser prostatectomy removes part of the prostate, reducing its size and therefore taking the pressure off the urethra, allowing for normal urination.

When should you speak to your specialist about greenlight laser prostatectomy surgery?

If you’re having difficulty urinating and think you may have an enlarged prostate, speak to your specialist about your options including this kind of surgery.

How is greenlight laser prostatectomy surgery performed?

Greenlight laser prostatectomy surgery is a minimally invasive surgery that is carried out under a general anaesthetic. Most patients are able to return home on the day of their procedure, but some require an overnight stay. The procedure usually takes around an hour.

Your surgeon will pass a long, thin surgical instrument called a cystoscope into your bladder via your urethra. The cystoscope has a small camera attached to the end, allowing your surgeon to clearly see your bladder on a screen.

They will then use the cystoscope to vaporise part of the prostate with highly targeted lasers to reduce its overall size before removing the cystoscope.

What is the recovery like for greenlight laser prostatectomy surgery?

Your recovery from greenlight laser prostatectomy surgery will depend on multiple factors, including your age, fitness level and the nature of your procedure.

When you recover from your anaesthetic, you may have a catheter in your urethra. This will help to drain urine from your bladder and is only usually required for the first 24 hours. Your nursing team will explain how to manage your catheter.

You may feel some discomfort which should be relieved by painkillers. Some men struggle to pass urine after this procedure and others experience an overactive bladder where they need to go to the toilet more frequently, but both are usually temporary. You may also notice a temporary stinging in your penis and some men notice blood in their semen in the days and weeks after their procedure.

Most men go on to urinate normally within six weeks of having greenlight laser prostatectomy surgery but it may take up to four months for your bladder function to fully improve.

You may need up to a week off work and will need to avoid heavy lifting for around three weeks.

Are there any risks/complications associated with greenlight laser prostatectomy surgery?

As with any medical procedure, it’s possible for risks or complications to arise. Speaking with your specialist or surgeon beforehand will help you avoid any adverse reactions.

Greenlight laser prostatectomy surgery has a relatively low risk of serious complications, but the following risks and complications can occur in a small number of cases:

  • Less intense, dry orgasms
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Development of scar tissue
  • Incontinence

How can I prepare for greenlight laser prostatectomy surgery?

Prior to greenlight laser prostatectomy surgery, your surgeon will discuss with you how best to prepare for surgery, as each patient is different.

Common preparations for greenlight laser prostatectomy surgery include:

  • Routine blood tests, x rays or scans as requested by your surgeon
  • Taking steps to stop smoking if you smoke
  • Losing weight if you’re overweight
  • Remaining active and doing regular exercise

Are there alternatives for greenlight laser prostatectomy surgery?

An alternative procedure, called Transurethral Resection of the Prostate (TURP) is also used to reduce the size of an enlarged prostate. However, greenlight laser prostatectomy surgery is less invasive than the TURP procedure and has a quicker recovery time.

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