Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Prostate Enlargement/BPH Health Center

Font Size

Enlarged Prostate: Laser Therapies - Topic Overview

Several laser methods for treating an enlarged prostate gland (benign prostatic hyperplasia, or BPH) are now being used. Laser therapy uses a laser beam to remove the part of the prostate that is blocking the urethra. The procedure is done under either a general or spinal anesthetic. Most men who have laser treatment of BPH are able to leave the hospital the same or the next day.

While several laser methods are used, in general they all either sear (laser ablation) or vaporize (laser vaporization) the prostate tissue.

  • As the seared tissue heals, it shrinks, dead tissue falls off, and the blockage is reduced. This may require several days.
  • With vaporization, a channel is immediately opened, allowing the free flow of urine.

Studies comparing laser methods with transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP) have found that:

  • Laser therapies improve symptoms about the same as TURP.1, 2
  • Laser therapies improve quality of life about as well as TURP.3
  • Compared to men who have TURP, men who have a laser therapy have a shorter hospital stay.4
  • Men who have a laser therapy need to have another treatment more often than men who have TURP.3

Other things to think about include the following:

  • Some men may choose laser therapy because of the shorter hospital stay, shorter time with a urinary catheter, and lower risk of complications. But discomfort during urination lasts longer after laser surgery.
  • Laser therapies are newer than other treatments for BPH, so there isn't as much evidence on long-term results. Men who have laser therapy for BPH may be more likely to need another treatment than men who have an older treatment, like transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP).

Prostate surgery using a laser may not be available in all hospitals.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: June 04, 2014
    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.
    Next Article:

    Enlarged Prostate: Laser Therapies Topics

    Today on WebMD

    Male Incontinence Slideshow
    screening tests for men
    What Is The Prostate
    Foods To Boost Mens Heath
    Enlarged Prostate BPH Complex Problem
    Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia BPH Surgery
    How Bad Are Urinary Symptoms From Benign Prostatic
    Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia BPH Exams And Tests
    Treating Enlarged Prostate
    What Is The Prostate
    Marks Prostate Enlarged
    Low Testosterone Explained When Levels Are Too Low

    WebMD Special Sections