GreenLight Laser shows promising results in treatment of enlarged prostates

A new study in the use of GreenLight Laser therapy to treat enlarged prostates is already yielding positive results at The Scarborough Hospital (TSH). Urologists Drs. Edward Woods, William Baldwin and Nick Logarakis of TSH are participating along with two other Ontario hospitals. Coordinated by McMaster Institute of Urology at St. Joseph’s Healthcare in Hamilton, the study is funded by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care.

GreenLight Laser Therapy uses a small fibre that is inserted into the urethra through a cystoscope. The fibre delivers high-powered laser energy which quickly heats up and vaporizes the prostate tissue. It’s an out-patient procedure whereby the patient returns the next day to have a catheter removed.

“My first 16 reportable patients have shown good results with no complications, and they’re all out-patients,” says Dr. Woods, the study’s Principal Investigator at TSH. “When we generate data comparing conventional prostate surgery with GreenLight Laser Therapy, we find that laser is as good, if not better, and with fewer complications, less bleeding and less need for secondary procedures.”

The advantages GreenLight Laser Therapy has over conventional surgery include: reducing the procedure from a two-day stay in hospital to out-patient day surgery; less bleeding; tremendous savings on nursing resources; less pain; and fewer complications. Those positive results are being echoed by Dr. Paul Whelan of St. Joseph’s Healthcare in Hamilton.

“We are very pleased with the results so far. Everyone we’ve treated has been an out-patient, and there have been no major complications,” Dr. Whelan adds. “I’m pleasantly surprised by the reports of very little pain and in fact, in some cases, a couple of Tylenol is all they need.”

For 69-year old Scarborough resident Michiel Scholte, a patient of Dr. Woods for several years, GreenLight Laser was a breeze. “I had it done last May, and it went very well. There was no pain, and the recovery period was very short,” Mr. Scholte says. “I do recommend the procedure to my friends who may be experiencing symptoms caused by an enlarged prostate.” TSH’s use of laser technology to treat enlarged prostates is nothing new. Dr. Baldwin was the first urologic surgeon in Ontario to use laser prostatectomy in 1993, so TSH has a 15-year history with various types of laser technologies.

Most of that older laser technology was available for other procedures as well and in effect, “was a machine sitting around looking for an operation.” “The GreenLight Laser is specifically designed for treating enlarged prostates,” explains Dr. Baldwin. “We’ve been using this technology here since December of 2004.”

In fact, TSH has treated at least 800 patients from all over the country with GreenLight Laser, the largest experience in Canada. And, TSH is getting referrals from Toronto teaching hospitals, something that “doesn’t happen very often,” says Dr. Baldwin.

The study, which started accruing 80 patients six months ago, compares a 120-Watt laser system to the traditional transurethral resection of the prostate. Past studies were already conducted on lower powered (60-Watt and 80-Watt) lasers, but this is the first conducted on the 120-Watt laser.

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