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PVP Greenlight laser
(photovaporisation of the prostate)
PVP Greenlight Laser is an alternative method of
reducing the bladder outflow obstruction suffered by
men with an enlarged prostate. While Transurethral
Resection of the Prostate (TURP) is still regarded as
the gold standard surgical treatment for BPH, the
prospect of a less invasive treatment is attractive.
PVP GreenLight Laser still requires a short period of
hospitalisation and a light anaesthetic, but recovery is
quicker in the short term. A catheter (a tube which
drains the bladder) is also needed for 1-2 days until
the urine clears. Patients are advised to take life
quietly and to avoid straining or heavy lifting for 10
days or so after the surgery.
Who is it suitable for?
Any patient for whom TURP is indicated, with the
exception of men who have been in acute retention
(unable to pass water); who have a prostate volume
greater than 60cc; or who need laboratory analysis of
the prostate “chippings”.
How does it work?
Just as in TURP, some prostate tissue is removed in
order to relieve pressure on the urethra. But this time
a laser probe is inserted and under the guidance of
the surgeon the overgrown tissue is vaporised by the
laser energy. The laser very effectively stops any
tissue from bleeding and as a result no bladder
irrigation is required.
Side-effects are similar to those of TURP. But with
much less bleeding, the laser procedure is considered
less invasive. Typically this means the hospital stay is
shorter and recovery faster. However it is not
uncommon for patients to feel a burning/stinging
sensation for some time after the procedure and this
may last up to six or even eight weeks.
It is normal to have traces of blood in the urine after
this operation, so it is advisable to drink plenty of
water for a few days while it clears. Clots are
sometimes passed 10-14 days afterwards; again, this
is part of the healing process.
Apart from this and the risk of infection that
accompanies any operation or invasive procedure, the
only significant side-effect is the near certainty that
normal ejaculation will cease. This is because the
contraction that occurs during orgasm may not
completely block the entrance to the bladder once
some tissue has been removed, and the semen will
flow back into the bladder (“retrograde” or “dry”
ejaculation) rather than out through the penis. This is
not harmful, but it does mean that future fertility is