Special to The Dallas Examiner
UT Southwestern Medical Center urologists are the first in North Texas to perform a new FDA-approved, minimally invasive procedure that shrinks an enlarged prostate gland using steam.
Depending on the size of the gland, the procedure consists of two to seven treatments, each nine seconds in duration, received in a single one to two hour office visit. The procedure, previously studied as part of clinical trials conducted at UT Southwestern, is performed on an outpatient basis using local anesthesia.
“Candidates are men who aren’t satisfied with their symptom management, men whose symptoms are progressing, and men who don’t want to take medication,” said Dr. Kenneth Goldberg, faculty associate in Urology, who is the only urologist in North Texas certified to perform the Rezūm System procedure developed by Minnesota-based NxThera Inc., according to the company. He has now performed the procedure more than 60 times.
The Rezūm procedure is FDA-approved to treat enlarged prostate, also known as benign prostatic hyperplasia or BPH, which is traditionally treated through medication or surgery. According to the National Institutes of Health, BPH is the most common prostate problem for men older than age 50, and more than 70 percent of men over age 70 have symptoms of BPH, which also is the most common noncancerous prostate disease.
“A normal prostate is 30 grams and may enlarge as a man ages. This procedure is FDA approved up to 80 grams,” he said. “Once a patient’s prostate reaches a size of 100 grams, surgery is the most appropriate option.”
The new procedure works by inserting .5 CC of sterile water vapor – or steam – into the prostate gland during the nine-second treatments. The therapy is targeted to a defined area because steam will only travel between cells until it encounters natural collagen barriers or the prostate capsule itself. Since the treatment does not reach outside the targeted treatment zone, there are no known side effects, no incontinence, and no sexual problems as a result of the treatment, according to Goldberg.
“It is an office-based procedure that allows men to return to normal activity within a few days, without causing incontinence or sexual problems,” he said.
After having the Rezūm System procedure, Jerry Sample of Lewisville said he is now able to sleep through the night without getting up, and recently was able to take a long flight from Dallas to Indianapolis without experiencing discomfort.
“This treatment has dramatically improved my quality of life,” said Sample, father of three, grandfather of six, and owner of retail stores in Lewisville and Denton.
Following the Rezūm System procedure, many patients find that their urinary tract symptoms can worsen at first as the cells swell from the steam treatment, Goldberg said. However, symptoms should improve after a few weeks as the prostate gland gradually begins to shrink and eventually returns to its normal size, he said.
The prostate gland surrounds the urethra, the tube that carries urine from the bladder out of the body. When the prostate becomes enlarged, it may squeeze or partly block the urethra, which can result in difficulty getting a urine stream started or weak urination stream, difficulty stopping urination, an urge to urinate frequently, and a sense that the bladder is not completely empty after urination, according to Goldberg. BPH symptoms can worsen over time, causing a sudden inability to urinate, urinary tract infections, urinary stones, damage to the kidneys and blood in the urine.
Patients who suspect they have BPH should see a doctor because there are many other diagnoses and conditions that can mimic BPH, including certain kinds of bladder or prostate cancer, stones in the urinary tract, and abnormal function of the bladder muscle due to a neurological disorder. Certain over-the-counter cold, sinus or allergy medications can cause the same symptoms.
UT Southwestern was part of a clinical trial to evaluate the Rezūm System as part of its FDA approval.