Wake Forest Baptist First in State Offering New Prostate Treatment

March 2, 2015

Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center is the first center in North Carolina to offer a new treatment for the urinary symptoms caused by an enlarged prostate gland.

During a minimally invasive outpatient procedure, implants are inserted into the prostate to pull the gland back and away from the urine tube. The treatment is designed to eliminate symptoms of delayed urination and frequent nighttime urination that are common with an enlarged prostate.

“Because it can offer rapid and lasting relief from the urinary tract symptoms associated with prostate enlargement and it doesn’t compromise sexual function, the UroLift system has the potential to change our treatment paradigm,” said Daniel Rukstalis, M.D., professor of urology, who co-led a national study of the treatment.

Enlarged prostate, or benign prostate hypertrophy, is the most common prostate problem for men over age 50. Studies have shown that by age 60, half of men have the condition. The prostate is a walnut-sized gland that sits below the bladder. It surrounds the urethra, the tube that empties urine out of the body.

When the gland enlarges, it can press on the urethra and result in a weak or slow urine stream, difficulty starting urination, frequent urination, an urgent need to urinate and getting up frequently at night to urinate. In addition, the narrowing can prevent the bladder from emptying completely, which can lead to urinary tract infections.

Rukstalis said treatment is generally recommended when the condition affects quality of life. In addition to the implant system, treatments include medications to reduce symptoms, procedures that use heat energy to shrink a portion of the prostate, laser surgery to remove prostate tissue, and traditional surgery to remove a portion or all of the prostate gland.
“We are pleased to offer a full range of treatment options for this bothersome condition,” said Rukstalis.

Rukstalis was the co-principal investigator of a study of 206 men in which 140 men were randomly assigned to receive the implants. These men who received treatment experienced a reduction on an American Urological Association Symptom Index from 22.1 at baseline to 11.1 at 24 months. The questionnaire asks about the frequency of symptoms and assigns a point value for each symptom, ranging from 0 to 5 depending on whether the symptom never occurs or occurs “almost always.”

Media Relations

Karen Richardson: krchrdsn@wakehealth.edu, 336-716-4453