Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Trip to Valladolid to learn to use the UROLIFT System

This afternoon I took the high speed train to Valladolid, to learn to use the new Urolift System to treat mild symptoms of benign prostate hyperplasia (BPH). I had known about this system before from my friend Dr. Henry Woo, from Australia, who was involved in the first trials in humans with this new system. It is also being evaluated at the Hospital del Rio Hortega, in Valladolid, and I was invited to see how Dr. Marcos Cepeda implanted this system in two patients.

It is a new concept for the treatment of lower urinary tract symptoms suggestive of BPH. It consists in applying two, four or six sutures with a special applicator, under local anesthesia + sedation into the prostate, and these compress the prostatic tissue opening the prostatic urethral lumen to facilitate micturition. The application was rather straightforward.

The main advantages of this system are: it is a minimally invasive system, with very low risk. It benefits younger patients, with smaller prostates, with moderate symptoms and it has the advantage of not altering ejaculation, a specially important issue in younger patients.

The disadvantages are for me that it is quite expensive and that there is a limited clinical experience published yet. My friend Dr. Woo tells me that it does not benefit all patients treated, but in those who benefit it is an elegant solution and long lasting, which prevents from having to receive medical treatment for years. He calls it "the surgical pill", precisely because it  is a minimally invasive intervention that can substitute medical treatment.

We sill see how it goes. It is available right now at the Institute of Advanced Urological Surgery in Madrid.

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