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Prostate Enlargement/BPH Health Center

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If you have difficulty urinating because of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), you probably will not need surgery unless you:

If you have no complications but have symptoms that bother you or if other treatment has not worked, you may choose to have surgery. In this case, think about:

  • How bad your symptoms are.
  • How much you expect the surgery to improve your symptoms.
  • How you feel about the risk of developing a complication because of the surgery.

For more information on this decision, see:

dplink.gif Enlarged Prostate: Should I Have Surgery?

Surgery choices

Surgery that does not require an incision through the skin is usually used. The surgical instruments are passed up the urinary opening in the penis to the location of the prostate. This is described as a transurethral surgery of the prostate.

Transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP) is the surgery for benign prostatic hyperplasia that has been studied the most. It is the surgery that is used the most to treat symptoms of BPH. All other surgeries are compared to TURP. In TURP, part of the prostate is removed.

Some of the other surgeries that have been studied and compared to TURP include:

In most cases, these treatments have been studied for only a few years, so their long-term effectiveness is not yet known. There are also some other surgeries.

The oldest surgical method to treat BPH is an open prostatectomy, in which an incision is made through the skin to reach the prostate. Doctors use this method less often now, but it is still preferred if the prostate is very large.

What to think about

Surgery is the most reliable way to relieve symptoms. But surgery may not relieve all your symptoms. And it puts you at risk for certain surgical complications, including erection problems (erectile dysfunction). Other complications include the inability to control the release of urine (urinary incontinence) and ejaculation of semen into the bladder instead of out through the penis (retrograde ejaculation). The complication depends on which type of surgery is used.

Men who have severe symptoms often notice great improvement in the quality of life following surgery. Men whose symptoms are mild may find that surgery does not greatly improve quality of life, and they may want to think carefully before deciding to have surgery to treat BPH.

If you have decided to have surgery, or if there are clear medical reasons to have surgery, the best surgical option depends on the size and shape of your prostate and the experience of the surgeon.

  • Transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP) is the most common surgery for BPH.
  • Other types of surgery have fewer risks and a shorter recovery period than TURP. But they may not work as well to stop symptoms. And you may need more treatment or surgery in the future.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: March 05, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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