Lead author Dr. Mostafa Elhilali of McGill University and McGill University Health Centre says the prostate naturally increases in size throughout a man's life and can reach a very large size, placing pressure on the urethra and causing urination difficulties and bladder problems.
"Treating small to moderate size prostates by regular Transurethral Resection of the prostate -- a surgical technique that removes part of the prostate gland -- is still the chosen treatment for the majority of patients," Elhilali says in a statement. "However, the most challenging aspect about the use of minimally invasive techniques is the high rate of recurrence and the need for re-treatment over time."
Holmium laser therapy of the prostate, also known as Holmium Laser Enucleation of the Prostate, has been used since 1998 at the McGill University Health Centre as an alternative treatment to surgery, which can be performed on patients taking blood-thinning medications like Coumadin, the researchers say.
The study tracked nearly 1,000 patients who had holmium laser therapy over a 10-year period. Complication rates were minimal and the need for further treatment, even up to a decade later, was less than 1 percent, compared to 10 percent to16 percent with TURP.
The findings were presented at the annual meeting of the American Urology Association in Washington.