2 The procedure

2.1 Indications

2.1.1 Transurethral electrovaporisation of the prostate is used to treat benign prostatic obstruction (BPO). BPO is a non-malignant enlargement of the prostate and is a common cause of lower urinary tract symptoms (such as difficulty in passing urine) in men aged over 40 years. Transurethral electrovaporisation of the prostate is a minimally invasive alternative to the standard surgical treatment of BPO, transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP).

2.2 Outline of the procedure

2.2.1 Transurethral electrovaporisation of the prostate, an electroablative technique, is performed using a specially designed modified rollerball electrode. The electrode is rolled over the prostatic tissue to create an area of vaporisation and an underlying coagulative necrosis. Vaporisation continues until an appropriate cavity is created. An in-dwelling urethral catheter is left in place at the end of the procedure.

2.3 Efficacy

2.3.1 This procedure is a relatively well-established minimally invasive treatment for BPO. A number of randomised controlled trials of this procedure were available for review. Transurethral electrovaporisation of the prostate was shown to be as efficacious as TURP in the short term.

2.3.2 The Specialist Advisors noted that the long-term durability of the procedure has yet to be established, and that efficacy is probably limited to smaller prostates.

2.4 Safety

2.4.1 Complication rates of transurethral electrovaporisation of the prostate and TURP appeared to be similar, although some studies suggested that bleeding was less common with transurethral electrovaporisation of the prostate. One study reported that long-term irritative symptoms were more common with transurethral electrovaporisation of the prostate.

2.4.2 The Specialist Advisors did not report any particular safety concerns, although one Advisor stated that postoperative bleeding and metabolic disorders were potential complications.

Andrew Dillon
Chief Executive
October 2003