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GreenLight Laser and BPH

Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) is an extremely common part of male aging, and new technologies like the GreenLight Laser Therapy are offering treatment options. This procedure utilizes photoselective vaporization of the prostate (PVP), is minimally invasive, and serves as an alternative to the more traditional transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP).

The Prostate

The prostate is part of the male reproductive system, and scientists have yet to discover all of its functions. It actually surrounds the tube that urine uses to pass out of the body (the urethra). As a man ages, the prostate will often enlarge. This can cause a number of problems, one of which is that it begins to press on the urethra and interfere with the ability to urinate. The enlarging of the gland is what is referred to as BPH.

The prostate actually starts to grow around age 25, but most problems aren't noticed until a man reaches his 40s. By the time he reaches his sixties, he will have about a 50% chance of experiencing symptoms of BPH. About 90% of men in their 70s and 80s experience some symptoms. Perhaps so many people feel uncomfortable talking about the prostate because they are unaware of just how common BPH is.

GreenLight Laser Therapy

Some advantages of the GreenLight Laser Therapy approach include a shorter catheterization, fewer side effects, and a decreased recovery period. It usually takes place as an outpatient procedure and doesn't require an overnight stay in the hospital.

The most common symptoms of BPH include:
  • A frequent or sudden need to urinate
  • Difficulty in starting to urinate
  • A weak stream of urine
  • Pain or burning
  • Feeling as if the bladder never empties
  • Leaking
GreenLight Laser Therapy is used to treat the cause of these symptoms. It does so by removing enlarged prostate tissue in order to decompress the urethra through the use of directed laser light pulses. This allows for better flow of urine and has less risk of sexual side effects than the traditional TURP. Because the procedure is minimally invasive, it also minimizes the risk of needing a blood transfusion, which is a concern for many.

The procedure itself usually takes less than an hour and most patients have immediate relief of symptoms. Those who undergo GreenLight Laser Therapy for BPH are usually able to return to low-stress activities after two or three days. Within about four to six weeks, they are usually able to return to all activities. Many potential patients are anxious about sexual side effects, but these risks are extremely low with photoselective vaporization of the prostate.



Kathryn Wagner, MD

Dr. Kathryn Wagner grew up in South Texas. Since 1995, when she completed her medical training, she has had a private practice in San Antonio. Recently, a new office facility has been opened by Dr. Wagner at the historic Nix Health Care System downtown located on the fourteenth floor. In 1991, she was licensed by the Texas State Board of Medical Examiners. In 1999, Dr. Wagner was Board Certified by the American College of Surgeons. Kathryn Wagner is married and is raising three children. She enjoys scuba diving, swimming, and wine tasting.
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