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What's not to like about new treatment for enlarged prostate?

Courier-Tribune - 7/1/2018

June 30--ASHEBORO -- Donald Sweatt swears by a procedure new to Randolph County to treat men who suffer from symptoms of an enlarged prostate.

Sweatt's description of the minimally invasive, outpatient treatment called UroLift -- which he received in mid-April -- is short and sweet.

"It's amazing," he said.

Sweatt of Franklinville shared his story in an interview this week at the Asheboro Urology Clinic offices of Drs. Daljit Caberwal and Prithvi Hanspal.

He explained that he began experiencing prostate troubles (in medical terms, BPH, or Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia) about three years ago. He began taking medication to treat the problem about two years ago.

Even on medications, he was miserable.

His life still revolved around the frequent need to go to the bathroom.

His sleep suffered, of course, because a typical night meant getting up three or four times to urinate.

Before beginning a journey, he would always make a bathroom pit stop and then needed to stop every hour or hour and a half to find a bathroom.

On beach trips, Sweatt always pulled in at places he had mapped out beforehand, places with clean restrooms open to the public. He always bought something he did not necessarily want or need as payment of a sort for using the facilities.

He used to fish a lot, but sold his boat; being out on the water for long stretches of time did not dovetail with his need to visit a bathroom so often.

Since he could never empty his bladder adequately, he felt continual pressure. When it got too uncomfortable, he loosened his belt for relief. Sweatt knew he was on a trajectory to need more aggressive surgical interventions when Dr. Caberwal told him about UroLift.

He studied educational materials before signing up. "It sounded like a win-win to me," he said.

The very first night after the procedure, Sweatt slept all night -- zero trips to the bathroom.

For three or four days, he had a burning sensation when urinating.

Then, life was largely back to normal.

New technology

Caberwal and Hanspal have performed the UroLift procedure about 40 times since early April.

"We are both very excited about this new technology," Caberwal said. "We're very satisfied with the procedure and most of our patients have benefitted and are very happy and satisfied."

In the past, he said, men with enlarged prostates take one of three courses:

* Live with the symptoms.

* Take medication.

* Undergo heat-based therapies or surgery.

"Now that process of doing surgery can be mostly eliminated," Caberwal said. "Eighty to 90 percent of the patients who needed surgery can benefit from this technology."

The FDA-approved UroLift procedure involves inserting several implants through the prostate. The implants are PET sutures with metal clips on each end, which unblock the urethra by holding enlarged prostate tissue out of the way.

The positives

There is much for patients to like about the new procedure, according to Caberwal.

For starters, it is an outpatient procedure that only takes about 15 minutes.

Counting arriving at the hospital 30 minutes before the procedure and 30-45 minutes of recovery, a patient can be in and out in two hours.

"Usually, you don't have a catheter and can go home following the procedure and resume normal activity in a day or two," Caberwal said, instead of weeks after other treatments.

Most patients do not need a catheter afterward. Another major plus: UroLift preserves sexual function, a unique benefit compared with other therapies, such as TURP (transurethral resection), laser and even medication.

Caberwal and Hanspal said that while patients get almost immediate relief, it takes a few weeks to realize the maximum benefit. Most post-procedure symptoms -- discomfort or soreness; the need to urinate more frequently; and blood in the urine -- are normal and resolve in 2-4 weeks.

It's cheaper, too. But, Hanspal said, while lower cost is good, improved care for the patient is even better.

Many new treatments for enlarged prostates have emerged over the years, he said.

"None of them had worked as good as this one. More and more people are thinking this is going to be the standard of care."

In the near future, Asheboro Urology plans to offer the procedure in the office for certain patients. Treatment for patients who are more medically fragile will still be done at the hospital.

* * *

BPH symptoms

Enlarged prostates come with age. More than 70 percent of men in their 60s have symptoms of BPH, or Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia. Some eventually seek treatment due to the severity of the symptoms, which include:

* Frequent need to urinate day and night.

* Weak or slow urinary stream.

* A sense that you cannot completely empty your bladder.

* Difficulty or delay in starting urination.

* Urgent feeling of needing to urinate.

* A urinary stream that stops and starts.

* * *

For more information, contact Asheboro Urology Clinic, 610 N. Fayetteville St., Suite 111, Asheboro, at 336-625-3997.

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(c)2018 The Courier-Tribune, Asheboro, N.C.

Visit The Courier-Tribune, Asheboro, N.C. at www.courier-tribune.com

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