Doctors hail "new breakthrough" for enlarged prostate
It's a condition that affects more than 40 million men in this country over the age of 50.
An enlarged prostate can impact their quality of life, including urinary problems and loss of sleep.
An Allouez man living with symptoms for years says a new medical procedure has changed his life.
It was 10 years ago, during a routine physical, Bill St. John learned he had an enlarged prostate. A few years later, he started having problems.
"The hardest part was a night because I would get up 6-7 times a night and when I would go to bed I would immediately feel like I would have to go to the bathroom. The other problem was traveling. Even riding in a car I would constantly be thinking I've got to be aware of where I can stop to go to the bathroom, flying was even more problematic," says St. John.
"Bottom line that I tell all my patients, if you're a man and you live long enough, you're probably going to have some difficulty with urinating. The prostate enlarges as men age," says Dr. Jennifer Burns, a Prevea Urologist.
After seeing a urologist, St. John started taking medication, which is standard protocol. But after a while it was no longer effective.
So a year and a half ago, he opted for a procedure Dr. Burns calls a breakthrough, the UroLift.
"This is where the magic happens. This is called the UroLift. So, it's really not that large and it just slips on like this, and we insert that into the prostate and it goes in and rests against the prostate, and it's like a little gun, and it just presses against it and fires," says Dr. Burns describing the procedure.
An animation provided by Prevea of the UroLift procedure shows how it prevents the prostate from blocking the urethra.
Dr. Burns says five years of data show tremendous, lasting results.
"People that have had it done have been very excited about it," says Dr. Burns.
"Typically now I get up once during the night. Occasionally I might get up twice and once in awhile I don't get up at all. It was really a life changing procedure," says St. John.
Doctors say UroLift procedure costs around $7,000 and is covered by insurance.
It's an outpatient procedure and can be performed in clinic.