Enlarged Prostate: Transurethral Needle Ablation
Transurethral needle ablation (TUNA) is used to treat an enlarged prostate gland (Reference benign prostatic hyperplasia, or BPH Opens New Window) with a needle-shaped device that delivers heat to very precise areas of the prostate. The device is inserted up the Reference urethra Opens New Window inside a tube (catheter) that protects other tissues from being burned. The heat destroys specific areas that are blocking the flow of urine out of the bladder. This relieves BPH symptoms. The procedure does not require an overnight stay in the hospital.
A year after TUNA surgery, symptoms can be about 13 points lower on the Reference American Urological Association (AUA) symptom index. For most men, that means a 60% reduction in symptoms. For example, if your symptom score is 25 (severe), it could be reduced to about 10 (moderate). With Reference transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP) Opens New Window, symptoms can be reduced by about 85% in most men.Reference 1 But TUNA is less likely than TURP to cause complications.
Needle ablation has minimal complications. The two most common are an inability to urinate (urinary retention) in the first 24 hours after surgery and pain while urinating. Sexual ability is generally not affected.Reference 2
The main advantages of this treatment are:
- It can be done without an overnight stay in the hospital.
- It has a short recovery time, although the symptoms may take longer to improve.
- It has minimal side effects.
The main disadvantages of this treatment are:
- You are more likely to need another surgery for BPH later.Reference 3
- It may not work well for men who have large prostates.
Reports have warned that in a small number of cases TUNA has caused serious injuries and complications, including damage to the penis and urethra. Injuries have required Reference urostomies Opens New Window, partial amputation of the penis, and other procedures. In December 2000, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a warning about these injuries.
|By:||Reference Healthwise Staff||Last Revised: Reference March 5, 2012|
|Medical Review:||Reference E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Reference J. Curtis Nickel, MD, FRCSC - Urology