More than three million men have been treated with plasma—can it help you?
Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH), often referred to as Benign Prostate Enlargement (BPE), is the most common cause of lower urinary tract symptoms in men. Around 60 percent of men aged 60-and-above have some degree of prostate enlargement, affecting the quality of life of around 40 percent of men in their 50s and 90 percent of men in their 90s.
The prostate gland is part of a man’s reproductive system, and its’ job is to make fluid to carry and nurture sperm. An enlarged prostate is very common, particularly as men get older, and won’t always need treating. Left untreated, it can get in the way of emptying the bladder, meaning you have to go the toilet more often or need to strain to pass urine.
To treat BPH, your doctor may recommend a TURP (transurethral resection of the prostate). This involves having part of your prostate gland removed. The term ‘transurethral’ describes the way your surgeon reaches your prostate: Through your urethra (the tube that carries urine from your bladder and out of your penis).
How can plasma help you?
About 99 percent of visible matter in the universe consists of natural plasma, including the sun, lightning, and even the polar lights. The plasma system has been shown to send patients home quicker and reduce the readmission rates of men being treated for BPH, compared to other techniques. Not only might these benefits improve patient satisfaction and outcomes, but they could also result in reduced waiting lists, as well as general health system efficiency, and could increase hospital savings by switching to day case procedures.
Plasma therapy has an increased safety profile compared to other therapy options, meaning there’ll be less thermal damage and bleeding during your procedure, thus less discomfort after the operation. By choosing plasma therapy, there’s no risk of transurethral resection (TUR) syndrome or hyponatremia, which is low blood sodium that can cause nausea, fatigue and coma in severe cases.
During your plasma therapy procedure
- The surgeon will reach the prostate by inserting a thin, tube-like instrument (resectoscope) through the urethra
- A small camera with an illuminating light attached to the resectoscope allows the surgeon to see a magnified view of the prostate
- A loop at the end of the instrument is passed along the enlarged prostatic tissue to remove obstructing tissue
- The prostate is virtually ‘shelled out’, gaining space for normal urination and reducing problematic BPH symptoms
- After the excess prostate tissue has been removed, the surgeon will insert a soft, flexible tube called a catheter into your bladder to drain urine
What do the guidelines say?
The plasma system can alleviate symptoms of BPH and has been recommended by the U.K.’s National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), as the ‘gold standard’ for TURP in men. NHS savings could result in millions of pounds per year, while also reducing risks and leading to much improved patient outcomes.
‘Plasma therapy helps you quickly return to normal activity, without the need for continued BPH medications1’
More than 3.1 million plasma procedures have been performed worldwide. This is one reason why the European Association of Urology (EAU) describes plasma therapy in its current guidelines as among the most frequently recommended first-choice treatments for all prostate sizes. The EAU is the leading authority within Europe, and fosters standards of urological care and practice.
Savings for the NHS
Approximately 17,000 transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP) procedures are carried out in England and Wales. With potential savings of between £285 and £375 per patient, at least £5million could be saved per year by NHS implementation of the NICE guidelines. Along with these savings of millions of pounds to the
NHS, there would be fewer risks to patients, leading to better outcomes from surgery to reduce enlarged prostate glands.
Speaking at a recent conference Mr Simon Woodhams, consultant urologist, clinical director of cancer services, Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said ‘Across our trust, achieving 75 percent plasma TURP as a day case can achieve an estimated maximum saving of £103,943.’
Mr Simon Woodhams adds: ‘In the stand-alone day case unit at Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, 99 of the past 100 patients treated with plasma therapy went home in under 23 hours and 100 percent of patients treated with plasma in the day case unit were very satisfied with their day case treatment.’
For more information on PLASMA:
Tel: +44(0)1702 616333
1Pham BS, Parke MD, and Kernen MD, How I do it: Same day discharge for transuretheral resection of the prostate using Olympus PlasmaButton and PlasmaLoop.