If you are a middle-aged man who has noticed problems completely emptying your bladder, frequent or painful urination, a weak or interrupted urine stream or incontinence, there is good news for you. First, you’re not alone; over nine million men in the U. S. have been diagnosed with a condition that often matches those same symptoms called benign prostate hyperplasia (BPH); second, there is an in-office procedure that may be able to help you without invasive surgery or long-term medication. BPH is an enlargement of the prostate gland, and it is the most common health problem men in America face. While it is non-cancerous, it does disrupt the quality of a man’s life.


Microwave therapy has successfully treated over 150,000 men since 1996. Approximately 3,000 men a month choose this therapy for their BPH issues.  Here’s how it works:  The “Targis procedure” utilizes a catheter containing an antenna that transmits microwave energy. This energy heats and destroys overgrown tissue in the prostate, while avoiding damage to normal tissues. Cool water is circulated through the catheter to ensure that the urethra is protected from the heat this procedure generates.  This treatment typically lasts about 60 minutes and is done under mild sedation. Most men can resume normal activities the next day.


Before the advent of microwave therapy, patients had only two choices, each of which had its limitations. The first was medications, which does offer short-term help. However, over time, about 20 percent of patients stop using drugs due either to side effects or cost. The other choice, surgery, is known as a Transurethral Resection of the Prostate (TURP). Many people refer to the procedure as a “Roto-Rooter” of the prostate. While it is considered the “gold standard” of treatment, most men prefer to exhaust all other alternatives before undergoing such an invasive procedure. Today’s new choice, microwave treatment, brings long-term results that are almost equal to those of surgery. The treatment eliminates the need for medications, providing some financial relief to the patient. Patients usually return home within 30 minutes of the treatment. There is no need for the extended hospital stay required by surgery. The recovery time for microwave surgery is short and the side effects are few. Because the tissue around the urethra will be irritated after the procedure, the patient will likely go home with a urinary catheter, which will remain in place for about four days. There may be a small amount of blood in the urine. It is very important to drink plenty of liquids; a glass of water every two hours during the day. Some men are uncomfortable for a few days after the treatment. As helpful as this procedure can be, it is not appropriate for every patient. For instance, if a patient has a third prostate lobe, called a median lobe, then microwave treatment may not be helpful. Because of this, patients are screened carefully before deciding if this surgery is likely to help. I have performed over 300 microwave procedure in the office over the last 4 years.


If you have any questions regarding this topic, please address them to Dr. Nick Shroff at midlandurology@aol.com or visit our website at www.shroffurology.com.


Disclaimer: The facts presented in this article and the views expressed are solely those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Board of Directors or other members of West Texas Physicians Alliance.