Transurethral microwave thermotherapy (TUMT) is a treatment for benign prostate enlargement. The procedure shrinks the prostate to relieve the symptoms associated with an enlarged prostate. There are a number of treatments available to address prostate enlargement and patients should discuss all of their options with a doctor before deciding which treatment they would like to receive. One of the advantages to TUMT is that it is not very invasive and it is low risk.
In this procedure, the patient goes to a doctor's office or clinic and receives mild sedation, along with local anesthesia in the pelvic area. A catheter is inserted into the urethra and then a microwave antenna is guided into the catheter. The antenna is switched on and it warms up, heating the prostate. The heat damages cells in the prostate, which will encourage it to shrink. A thermometer is used to monitor the temperature so that the antenna can be switched off if it becomes too hot.
The TUMT procedure takes around an hour, and when it is finished, the patient can usually leave. Having a ride home is recommended because the sedation can leave a patient feeling groggy and confused. It takes six to eight weeks for the effects of the TUMT procedure to be noticed. During this period, the patient may have difficulty urinating and can experience some pain.
If the procedure is successful, the prostate will shrink, relieving pressure on the urethra and allowing the patient to urinate more normally. In some cases, the procedure is an effective treatment, and no additional measures to treat prostate enlargement are required. In other instances, the prostate may start to grow again, requiring more aggressive interventions.
The risks of TUMT include a urinary tract infection, urinary retention, and retrograde flow of semen. Patients should also be aware that this procedure is not recommended for men who have complete blockage and experience complications such as bloody urine. It is also not approved for use in men with prostate cancer. This nonsurgical treatment for prostate enlargement is usually performed by a urologist.
When patients begin to develop the signs of prostate enlargement, they should discuss it with a physician. Some doctors recommend a wait and see approach, while others may have thoughts about interventions which can be used to address the issue before it develops into a problem. Early intervention can sometimes spare patients more serious complications of enlarged prostate.