Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Prostate Enlargement/BPH Health Center

Font Size

Enlarged Prostate: Transurethral Needle Ablation - Topic Overview

Transurethral needle ablation (TUNA) is used to treat an enlarged prostate gland (benign prostatic hyperplasia, or BPH) with a needle-shaped device that delivers heat to very precise areas of the prostate. The device is inserted up the urethra 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 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 transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP), symptoms can be reduced by about 85% in most men.1 But TUNA is less likely than TURP to cause complications.

Recommended Related to Prostate Enlargement/BPH

Enlarged Prostate (BPH) Supplements and Remedies

To treat an enlarged prostate, some people use herbs, from flaxseed to stinging nettle to prickly pear cactus. At typical doses, experts say that most plant extracts are probably safe for BPH, or benign prostatic hyperplasia. But do they work? Some supplements may help. Others -- including the most popular, saw palmetto -- might not. And a few, including zinc, may actually put you at risk for getting BPH.

Read the Enlarged Prostate (BPH) Supplements and Remedies article > >

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.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.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 urostomies, 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.

1

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.
Next Article:

Enlarged Prostate: Transurethral Needle Ablation Topics

Today on WebMD

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

WebMD Special Sections