What is TUMT?
Transurethral microwave thermotherapy (TUMT) is a treatment for benign prostate enlargement. The procedure shrinks the prostate to relieve the symptoms associated with an enlarged prostate. There are a number of treatments available to address prostate enlargement and patients should discuss all of their options with a doctor before deciding which treatment they would like to receive. One of the advantages to TUMT is that it is not very invasive and it is low risk.
In this procedure, the patient goes to a doctor’s office or clinic and receives mild sedation, along with local anesthesia in the pelvic area. A catheter is inserted into the urethra and then a microwave antenna is guided into the catheter. The antenna is switched on and it warms up, heating the prostate. The heat damages cells in the prostate, which will encourage it to shrink. A thermometer is used to monitor the temperature so that the antenna can be switched off if it becomes too hot.
How long it takes?
The TUMT procedure takes around an hour, and when it is finished, the patient can usually leave. Having a ride home is recommended because the sedation can leave a patient feeling groggy and confused. It takes six to eight weeks for the effects of the TUMT procedure to be noticed. During this period, the patient may have difficulty urinating and can experience some pain.
If the procedure is successful, the prostate will shrink, relieving pressure on the urethra and allowing the patient to urinate more normally. In some cases, the procedure is an effective treatment, and no additional measures to treat prostate enlargement are required. In other instances, the prostate may start to grow again, requiring more aggressive interventions.
The risks of TUMT include a urinary tract infection, urinary retention, and retrograde flow of semen. Patients should also be aware that this procedure is not recommended for men who have complete blockage and experience complications such as bloody urine. It is also not approved for use in men with prostate cancer. This nonsurgical treatment for prostate enlargement is usually performed by a urologist.
When patients begin to develop the signs of prostate enlargement, they should discuss it with a physician. Some doctors recommend a wait and see approach, while others may have thoughts about interventions which can be used to address the issue before it develops into a problem. Early intervention can sometimes spare patients more serious complications of enlarged prostate.
While minimally invasive procedures for BPH are often associated with less severe complications than TURP, they still can cause side effects, including the following:
- Difficult or painful urination.These problems are common in the first days after the catheter is removed, but they typically improve after a week or two. If urinating is extremely painful or does not improve, contact your urologist.
- Blood in the urine.A small amount of blood that lends a pinkish hue to your urine may cause you some anxiety but is common for up to three days after the procedure. However, if the bleeding is heavy, lasts more than a few days, or causes blood clots that block the flow of urine, call your urologist.
- Urinary tract infections.These infections usually result from catheterization; the longer you have a catheter, the higher your risk of infection. To reduce this risk, antibiotics are often prescribed either after the procedure or after catheter removal.
- Urinary retention.A small number of BPH patients are unable to urinate on their own after catheter removal and may require a longer period of catheterization. If this happens, contact your doctor.
- Sexual dysfunction.In general, the rates of sexual dysfunction are thought to be lower with TUMT than with TURP. Nonetheless, men can experience retrograde ejaculation (ejaculation into the bladder instead of through the penis) after TUMT. In one study, one in five men reported retrograde ejaculation after TUMT. However, most studies show that TUMT have no major adverse effects on sexual function.
- Severe abdominal pain or a high fever. Contact your doctor if you experience either of these symptoms.
When Will BPH Urinary Symptoms Improve?
Symptoms of BPH usually do not improve immediately after TUMT; instead, they worsen for a few days and then slowly improve. In fact, you may notice no improvement in BPH symptoms for about two to eight weeks. This delay in BPH symptom relief occurs because it takes time for the body to absorb and discard the excess prostate tissue destroyed by the procedure.
If TUNA or TUMT is effective, you will experience its full benefits within three to six months. However, BPH symptom relief is not always long lasting. After two years, about 20% of men need retreatment either with TUNA, TUMT, or TURP, and this rate increases to about 33% after five years.
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