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What is Rezūm? Answers on This BPH Treatment Option

September 19, 2017 | Donald Smith, MD, FACS

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bph treatment optionYou were invited with friends to go to the ball game, but you hesitate because you don't know how close the seats will be to the restroom. Embarrassed to ask, you decline. You know what’s causing the problem — it’s BPH, or benign prostatic hyperplasia, otherwise known as an enlarged prostate. Tired of missing out, you decide to consult your doctor and undergo a minimally invasive treatment called Rezūm to end your social isolation.

You’re living proof that a large prostate can squeeze down on the urethra and cause a frequent need to urinate. It may also cause an irregular flow, a weak stream or straining. It can even affect your sex life. But that’s where Rezūm comes in.

So what is Rezūm? Let’s take a closer look at this new BPH treatment option that uses steam to shrink your prostate and improve your quality of life.

What is BPH?

BPH is the most common prostate problem in men. In fact, all men will develop some enlargement of the prostate as they age.

It is a normal condition that begins developing around age 50; as many as 90 percent of men will experience symptoms of BPH.

Treating BPH usually involves one of three options:

Behavioral Changes

  • drinking less water
  • going to the bathroom as soon as you get the urge
  • eliminating coffee, alcohol, and other bladder irritants

Drug Therapy

  • may not alleviate all symptoms
  • may cause unwanted side-effects

Surgery

  • longer recovery times
  • more risks

There are already several non-surgical options to treat urinary incontinence in women. Now, with Rezūm therapy, all it takes is a few drops of water to destroy enlarged prostate tissue in a matter of seconds.

Do I Have to Be Put Under?

Rezūm is a minimally-invasive surgical procedure that does not require general anesthesia. Your urologist either will prescribe a sedative for you to take, or use a local anesthetic. Whatever works best for you.

How Does it Work?

Before you’re sedated, you will be asked to go to the bathroom to empty your bladder. That will help with the effectiveness of the procedure.

Once you’re comfortable, your urologist will connect a bag of sterile saline solution to the machine. The water will be heated inside the machine and converted into steam.

Your urologist will use a handheld device to insert a tiny needle into the urethra. The needle is used to target the unwanted tissue and to release the steam. The steam destroys the extra prostate tissue through a series of nine-second steam injections.

You’ll be taken to a recovery room following the procedure for a short time. You may be sent home with a catheter to use for two or three days, but that will be up to your urologist.

How Soon Can I See Results?

Studies are finding that the prostate begins to shrink almost immediately, and you can see improvements in your bathroom breaks in as little as two weeks.

A study done at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center and published in The Journal of Urology found Rezūm providing effective symptom relief for two years. Researchers plan to follow their patients for another three years. Another study, led by a urologist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York, found it to be an effective treatment for lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS). Quality of life improved in more than 60% of patients.

Is it Safe?

The FDA cleared Rezūm in 2015 and the company that makes the device, NxThera Inc., conducted a detailed study on the potential side effects of the procedure.

The results show minimal complications. The most common are painful urination (16%) and blood in the urine (12%) in the days following the procedure, but those symptoms went away within a few weeks. In fact, 80% of the adverse events occurred within the first 30 days post-procedure and were typically of short duration.

If you do experience any of these events, the following options may help relieve your discomfort during the short-term healing process:

  • Take a mild pain medication like acetaminophen
  • A warm bath or sitting on a hot water bottle
  • Eliminating caffeine, chocolate and alcohol from your diet

A dedicated team of urologists at Fisher-Titus Medical Center can provide expert advice on Rezūm and other treatments for urinary disorders in both men and women.

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