A German clinic has been distinguished for its accomplishments in the treatment of benign prostate hyperplasia (BPH), or noncancerous enlargement of the prostate.

green light laser urology

Benign prostate hyperplasia, or BPH, is a condition that affects nearly one in four men over age 50. Its symptoms include frequent urination, weak urine flow, and pain when passing urine.

“At first glance the condition doesn’t seem like anything dramatic,” said Dr. Bach. “But what begins with seemingly-harmless problems with urination can lead to severe and chronic urinary tract infections and endanger the kidneys.”

Read more about benign prostate hyperplasia and the treatment options available in Germany

Laser surgery: Fewer side effects with equal results

In Germany around 60,000 patients per year need to undergo an operative therapy due to their symptoms from BPH. The classic treatment method is the so-called transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP), in which excessive tissue is removed by use of an electric sling. In the case of a very large prostate, the tissue is removed via abdominal surgery. For some years now, laser procedures have also been used: with these, even patients taking anticoagulant medication can be treated for BPH. The experts at the Asklepios Clinics have now examined how the treatments compare on a broad scale with regards to quality and effectiveness.

While a benign prostate enlargement used to require surgery, new developments in technology have made it possible to treat the condition using lasers.

The urology departments of several Asklepios clinics in Hamburg recently participated in a study showing that laser prostate procedures improve quality and safety for treatment of an enlarged prostate.

“Overall, the results show that the laser procedures are more gentle and have the same effectiveness as the classic procedures, and that we in Hamburg can offer a very good treatment quality,” said Dr. Thorsten Bach, Head of Department of Urology at Asklepios Klinik Harburg, who was the main author of the study.

Additionally, a recent study published in the Journal of Urology showed that even for men with very large prostates, laser surgery was just as effective as traditional surgery, and often resulted in shorter recovery times and fewer side effects.

The Asklepios clinics have adjusted their treatments to reflect these new studies. TURP and other similar procedures are slowly being phased out in favor of laser surgery, and currently 75% of all BPH patients at Hamburg Asklepios Clinics are treated with laser surgery.

Quality indicators show clear benefits for laser surgery

German hospitals, including Asklepios clinics, maintain meticulous medical records for internal quality control measurements. Bach and other Heads of Departments of Urology used these quality indicators for the first time to publish a scientific study about the effectiveness of different prostate procedures. The researchers examined the treatment results from 2,648 patients from four years.

The researchers discovered that laser prostate surgery is less invasive than traditional procedures such as TURP, but just as effective. For example, the study showed that all established procedures improve the patient’s symptoms, but that there were still clear advantages with laser operations. With the Thulium Laser (ThuLEP), more tissue could be removed in a shorter amount of time, leading to a significantly shorter operation time. And with the Green Light laser, even patients with co-morbidities which made them ineligible for traditional prostate procedures could receive treatment.

Patients of Premier Healthcare Germany have had positive experiences with Green Light laser surgery.

German clinic group recognized for outstanding treatment

The study received an award from the European Urologists Congress and was published in the renowned World Journal of Urology. The German Urologists Congress also honored the medical specialists for their accomplishments in the research and treatment of benign prostate hyperplasia, distinguishing them with the Winfried Vahlensieck Prize.

“For us, the interest and the distinction of this study is a huge success,” said Prof. Bach. “We showed that the consequential measurement of our treatment quality is just as important for scientific research as it is for our internal quality management.”