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20 Feb 2018

‘Game changing’ surgery for men arrives on the North Shore

An Australian-first ground-breaking operation for men with enlarged prostates has been done at Sydney Adventist Hospital.

Over 50% of men aged 50 and over have enlarged prostates causing urinary problems including sleep disturbance, frequent need to go to the bathroom, flow and other urinary problems. It can be painful and debilitating, effecting the lifestyle of otherwise active men.

San Urologist Professor Henry Woo trained overseas for the Rezum procedure which involves delivering steam vapour directly to the prostate using thermal energy to kill the enlarged prostate tissue.

“The water vapour literally cooks the prostate which then shrinks – as it does, the urethra is opened and men can pass urine more freely” said Professor Woo.

The day only procedure from which patients quickly recover within 48 hours, has minimal side effects in comparison to conventional treatments like medication and surgery which can result in sexual dysfunction in 70-80% of cases.

“To have a minimally invasive surgical treatment that preserves all aspects of sexual function is a game changing type of treatment “ said Professor Woo.

“I think it is very exciting that we are seeing this technology finally make its way to Australia. In the past men have chosen to have no treatment because men were concerned at the risk. Men are after a procedure will allow them a rapid recovery and also something that will have a negligible impact on their quality of life.”

Despite only just being made available, proving the risk of dysfunction was a concern, and showing the needs among the North Shore’s ageing population, three operations were done on the first morning (Tuesday, February 20th).

52 year old married father of three Glenhaven resident property developer Andrew Denton is booked in for his procedure in April and says the new procedure is definitely a game changer for him.

“In the last 12 months the symptoms of my enlarged prostate have worsened. It’s made me feel older than I am. It’s been a real nuisance having to get up several times a night, to have to go to the bathroom often and made international flights for business particularly uncomfortable.

What put me off getting treatment previously was the 70-80% possibility that I would end up with some type of dysfunction. It seemed ironic I might alleviate the symptoms but end up with another problem. That’s why hearing that Professor Woo was now doing this procedure was such great news.

The fact that I should get relief within a few weeks, without side efects and that I’ll be back driving and at work the next day, is terrific. The doc said said I could even bungie jump if I wanted to…not certain how the family would feel about that …but we’re certainly happy this new procedure is now in Australia.

I’ll be sharing the good news with my mates…they shouldn’t put up with debilitating symptoms that can be easily treated.”

Comment from Professor Henry Woo about the first Rezum procedure at the Hospital

Lower urinary tract symptoms due to an enlarged prostate can affect as much as half the men over the age of 50.
Of those affected, many do not seek treatment due to concerns about the potential impact that treatment might have on their existing quality of life, particularly with sexual function. Such concerns are interesting given that the symptoms themselves may often have a significant impact on quality of life.

Rezum is a new minimally invasive surgical treatment for urinary symptoms due to an enlarged prostate. It is a day procedure in hospital and men are able to return to normal activities within days, and without restriction.

The procedure involves using a telescopic instrument that is passed through the urethra into the prostate. Water vapour (steam) is injected into the prostate and destroys the prostate tissue causing blockage to the urethra. The prostate will then shrink over time and this has the effect of opening up the urethra to free up the passage of urine.

Symptom relief may not be immediate but over weeks, there is a gradual improvement and by three months, significant symptoms relief will be experienced.

Drug treatment can be associated with sexual side effects in as many as 25 per cent of men. Conventional surgical treatment may cause sexual side effects in as many as 70-80% men. The most common sexual side effect is loss of emission on ejaculation or in other words a dry orgasm.

This treatment is exciting in that it allow both rapid recovery and appears to be free of any risk to sexual function. This type of treatment is really going to appeal to those men who have concerns about the impact that treatment might have with time off work or side effects such as sexual function.

This treatment has been commercially available in the US and Europe for almost two years and it is really exciting to see that Australian men will now have the opportunity to access this state of the art technology.

The first patients to be treated with Rezum in Australia were treated at the Sydney Adventist Hospital this week.


Professor Henry Woo, is a urologist from the Sydney Adventist Hospital Clinical School of the University of Sydney.


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