Transutehral Microwave Therapy of the Prosate (TUMT) is done as an outpatient treatment with local anesthesia and mild sedation to treat Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH), which is the term used to describe the non-malignant growth of the prostate gland that is responsible for blocking the flow of urine out of the urinary bladder.
The procedure involves the use of a special catheter which houses a microwave source at its tip. This catheter is placed through the penis so that the microwave source is placed into the prostatic channel. The prostate is heated up to temperatures above 105ø Fahrenheit. This causes destruction to the prostate tissue and shrinkage of the gland and also may act to relax the channel through the prostate by affecting prostatic nerves. No prostate tissue is removed for pathologic diagnosis.
Some of the newer techniques revolve around a catheter that cools the lining of the prostate while the prostate tissue deep inside is heated, and this allows for very good recovery times. Some testing of hyperthermia has been done in the USA with reasonably good results with about 50% of patients benefitting. Patients with very large prostates or enlargement of the middle lobe of the prostate are not felt to be good candidates for TUMT. Because the prostate is likely to swell initially most patients are discharged with a catheter in the bladder for a few days to allow drainage until the prostatic swelling subsides. Sexual functioning is not usually affected by TUMT. The FDA approved the use of microwave hyperthermia in September, 1995. Experience in the United States is still limited, however.
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