Sansum Clinic urologist discusses alternative to surgery, medications
Traditionally, men had to have major surgery or medication to stop frequent bathroom visits — day or night.
But there’s a third solution for an enlarged prostate, and that’s helping older men to sleep and live better.
It’s the UroLift System, an FDA-approved outpatient procedure that uses tiny implants to provide relief.
The system helps the prostate, which is a walnut-size gland that surrounds the urethra, a passageway that drains urine from the body. An enlarged prostate blocks the urethra, and there goes a good night’s sleep.
The UroLift System lifts and holds the enlarged prostate tissue so it no longer blocks the urethra. There is no heating, cutting or removal of the prostate tissue.
A Sansum Clinic urologist swears by it.
“The results have been really great,” Dr. Scott Tobis told the News-Press. “The vast majority of patients get significant improvement in their quality of life and their flow rates.”
He said his patients find they don’t have to wake up so often at night to go to the bathroom and can worry less about the location of public restrooms.
“It takes pressure off the bladder,” the urologist said.
Dr. Tobis said he has used the UroLift System successfully in more than 100 patients with benign prostatic hyperplasia, a common problem for older men, during the last five years.
Dr. Tobis explained the UroLift System, which was developed by Teleflex Interventional Urology, is done on an outpatient basis at Sansum’s Surgery Center in Santa Barbara.
“The main thing is how easy it is for the patients to undergo,” Dr. Tobis said. “It’s really a lot less invasive than other approaches that we have for this problem.”
He said the procedure is covered by Medicare and major insurance plans.
Dr. Tobis added that the UroLift System makes for a great alternative to expensive medications or surgery, which requires recovery time.
He also noted that the procedure is unlikely to cause significant side effects or long-term problems. “There’s no risk of sexual dysfunction with this or leakage of urine or anything like that, which there are with other procedures.”
He said there’s a small risk of urinary infection.
The most common side effects reported have varied from blood in the urine to pelvic pain, but most symptoms were mild to moderate and were resolved within two to four weeks after the procedure.
“Most people are able to do this as an outpatient procedure and go home the same day with minimal problems going forward,” Dr. Tobis said.
He also noted the Surgery Center is following COVID-19 precautions, including wearing masks and complying with hand-cleaning protocols.
“All the patients are tested for COVID before they come in,” Dr. Tobis said. “There are no surprises. It’s very safe. We’ve been doing this for several months without any major issues.”