Minimally invasive laser surgery targets excess tissue while leaving prostate intact

Jessica Paonessa, MD

Jessica Paonessa, MD

An enlarged prostate can affect the flow of a man’s urine and create urgency and frequency issues that can impact his daily activities and sleep. Medications are often prescribed, but they may only offer temporary relief and intolerable side effects.

“For many men, taking medicine for this condition isn’t something they want to do long term, and for other patients, the medications may not be effective,” said Jessica Paonessa, MD, an assistant professor of urology at Upstate who offers an alternative. “In these cases, the next step is to remove the obstructive tissue surgically.”

Male prostate anatomy lateral view

A side view of the prostate (in red)

She offers a minimally invasive surgery called holmium laser enucleation of the prostate. A high-powered laser removes the obstructive portion of an enlarged prostate in its entirety. The surgeon accesses the prostate through the urethra and uses the laser to separate the obstructive tissue from the original prostate. A device cuts the tissue into small pieces and extracts it using suction.

“This allows for a thorough cleanout of the blocking tissue and offers patients many benefits,” Paonessa said.

The prostate, which is left intact, retracts to its original size and allows the patient to regain the ability to urinate without difficulty. Patients remain in the hospital for approximately 24 hours and are able to return to their daily activities without restrictions in seven to 10 days.

Paonessa said the results of the surgery are long-lasting, “and patients experience life-changing results. They can travel, sleep through the night and return to their normal daily activities.”

summercoverHear a radio interview with Paonessa about this procedure.

This article appears in the summer 2015 issue of Upstate Health magazine.

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