A group of urologists from Forest Hills’ New Parkway Hospital are turning to a safe, speedy and pain free solution to what has become one of America’s most pressing men’s health issues—prostate enlargement.
This solution has come in the form of the Holmium laser, a state of the art, high wattage tool that Parkway’s doctors are now using to remove tissue from swollen prostate glands.
“It’s really going to change the way people look at this problem and the way people think about addressing it,” said New Parkway Hospital’s Dr. Ayaz Rasool, of the machine that is no larger than a home desktop computer.
On July 7, Rasool first used the laser to treat the enlarged prostate of a patient who suffered the torturous pain that accompanies complete urinary retention. The elderly man had been heavily medicated to treat his condition, but Rasool had decided it was time to address the problem surgically. Because of the patient’s age, Rasool was concerned about the trauma that traditional prostate surgery would have entailed.
So instead, he snaked a laser and a small camera—together no wider than 5 millimeters—to the point of obstruction, where he was able to watch the laser evaporate the patient’s swollen tissue.
Similar techniques have been used to attack bladder and urethral stones, but New Parkway is said to be the only area hospital to treat enlarged prostates with laser technology.
The standard method would have had a surgeon inserting a scalpel like rector scope to the problem area. The scalpel is used to scrape away at obstructing tissue. After the process of cutting and removing tissue and blood from the area, a three day hospital stay would have been required for the patient to recover from the highly invasive procedure. Doctors also needed to watch for possible complications ranging from blood clots to post operative bleeding to heart failure.
But Rasool’s July 7 patient walked out of the hospital three hours after the new, Holmium procedure without a catheter or any fear of complications. The operation itself took no more than 15 minutes.
Since then, Rasool and two other Parkway urologists have successfully performed the procedure on a number of patients and watched them all leave Parkway the same day. “The actual damage to the body is minimal. There’s no post op swelling, so it’s a fairly benign procedure,” said Lorraina Smith Zuba, the hospital’s director of Nursing Services.
Rasool and Smith Zuba hope that the new alternative will have men opting to have their enlarged prostates treated rather than—as many will—bearing the pain to avoid traumatic surgery. For many, the procedure would mean no longer needing prescription drugs to address both their swollen prostate and the resulting pain.
Over 50 percent of all men over 60 and 80 percent of men over 80 have enlarged prostates. But the symptoms of the condition, which can include frequent urination, urinary tract infections and kidney and bladder damage, are sometimes found in men in their 40s.