In transurethral microwave therapy (TUMT), an
instrument (called an antenna) that sends out microwave energy is inserted
urethra to a location inside the prostate. Microwave
energy is then used to heat the inside of the prostate. Cooling fluid is
circulated around the microwave antenna to prevent heat from damaging the wall
of the urethra. To prevent the temperature from getting too high outside the
prostate, a temperature sensor is inserted into the man's rectum during the
procedure. If the temperature in the rectum increases too much, the treatment
is turned off automatically until the temperature goes back down.
The temperature becomes high enough inside the prostate to kill some of
the tissue. As this part of the prostate heals, it shrinks, reducing the
blockage of urine flow.
This treatment is done in a single
session. It usually does not require an overnight stay in the hospital. A
spinal anesthetic is needed during the
Microwave therapy is also known as cooled thermal
therapy or by the name of the equipment used.
You are typically able to go home after
surgery. You may not be able to urinate and may need catheterization to
drain your bladder. For most men, this lasts for a week or less.
typically return to work 1 to 2 days after treatment. Sexual activity can be
resumed 1 to 2 weeks after surgery.
TUMT is done to help relieve the
benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). It is an option
for men who want more than medicines for treatment of their symptoms.
One study showed that TUMT improved symptoms and urine flow better than the alpha-blocker terazosin when checked 6 months and 18 months later.1
Studies find that TUMT does not improve symptoms and urine flow as much as TURP does.1
The main complications of TUMT include:1
Men who have TUMT don't lose as much blood as men who have TURP. So men who have TUMT have less need for a blood transfusion. They also have less of a problem with retrograde ejaculation than men who have TURP.
Reports have warned that in a
small number of cases the procedure has caused serious injuries and complications, including
damage to the penis and urethra. Injuries have required
urostomies, partial amputation of the penis, and
other procedures. In December 2000, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
issued a warning about these injuries.
Most trials using TUMT have been
limited by a small number of participants, a short length of time of study, and
limited follow-up with the participants after the trial ended.
procedure is not recommended for men who have
prostate cancer or for men who are suspected of having
Complete the surgery information form (PDF)(What is a PDF document?) to help you prepare for this surgery.
McNicholas T, Kirby R (2011). Benign prostatic hyperplasia, search date July 2009. Online version of BMJ Clinical Evidence: http://www.clinicalevidence.com.
March 5, 2012
E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
& J. Curtis Nickel, MD, FRCSC - Urology
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