NHS approves new hi-tech laser treatment for prostate sufferers

Therapy will mean fewer overnight hospital stays and speed up recovery times, but may not be suitable for all

The NHS is struggling with chronic bed shortages
(Image credit: Oli Scarff/AFP/Getty Images)

The NHS has approved the use of lasers to treat patients suffering with an enlarged prostate in a move that hopes to cut overnight hospital stays and speed up recovery times.

"Around 60 per cent of men over the age of 60 suffer from prostate enlargement, which can mean increasing lavatory trips at night and repeated urinary tract infections," says the Daily Telegraph.

Currently, the main treatment on offer is surgery, which requires an overnight stay in hospital and the risk of complications, adds the paper.

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GreenLight XPS, which uses a laser to destroy the excess tissue in the gland, achieves the same effects but in less time.

Studies found the treatment was "just as effective as standard operations but patients spent a third less time in hospital and many fewer hours fitted with a catheter," reports The Times.

Professor Carole Longson, the director of the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice), said: "Whilst benign enlarged prostates may not be life-threatening, the condition can affect men's lives significantly.

"A procedure to reduce the amount of excess prostate tissue can improve the quality of life. Using the GreenLight XPS is more convenient for patients than other surgical procedures as they don’t need to stay in hospital overnight and they can return to normal activity faster."

As many as 13,600 men a year with enlarged prostates could benefit from treatment with the device, said Nice.

But Professor Longson warned there was not enough evidence to be sure the method would be as successful for men with higher risks of complications and as such, doctors are not encouraged to routinely offer the system, although they can do so on an experimental basis.

"We recommend that specialists collaborate to collect and publish data if GreenLight XPS is used in treating enlarged prostates in men classed as high risk. This will help improve the evidence base and could enable future recommendations on its use," she said.

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