TUNA Therapy Combats Benign
(ARA) - With age, most men's prostates grow larger,
resulting in irritating problems associated with urination.
Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) is a common condition
affecting the prostate. It is a non-cancerous enlargement of
the prostate that restricts the flow of urine from the
bladder. Millions of men worldwide are affected by BPH, but
fewer than five percent are receiving treatment. Fifty
percent of men older than 50 and 80 percent of men older
than 80 have some symptoms of BPH. This condition is the
most common non-cancerous form of cell growth in men. While
there is no definitive cause of BPH, factors that contribute
to the condition include aging, hormones and growth factors.
Though BPH is not life threatening, it can lead to a reduced
quality of life, causing discomfort, inconvenience, sleep
disruption and embarrassment. BPH was traditionally treated
by a method called Transurethral Resection of the Prostate (TURP).
This involves inserting a scope into the urethra and
removing a section of the obstructing prostate tissue. It
involves surgical risks but remains a "standard."
Medication is also available to help treat BPH. Some relax
the neck of the bladder while others shrink the prostate.
These medications are effective, but not as effective as
surgery. Within the past decade, a number of minimally
invasive techniques have been developed to treat BPH.
Transurethral Needle Ablation (TUNA) is one such technique
that has fewer side effects than other minimally invasive
laser or microwave treatments. The side effect profile also
compares favorably to TURP.
With Medtronic TUNA Therapy, a catheter is inserted into the
urethra and two small needles are deployed into the
obstructing prostate tissue. The needles emit radio
frequency (RF) energy directly and precisely into the
prostate, causing thermal ablation of the obstructing tissue
while protecting the urethra and adjacent structures from
damage. This procedure is associated with few side effects
and adverse events. Possible side effects from the TUNA
procedure include obstruction, bleeding, pain/discomfort,
urgency, frequency and urinary tract infection.
"TUNA offers men a much more attractive option to surgery
when first-line medications fail," said Dr. Michael J.
Naslund, associate professor of urology and director of the
Maryland Prostate Center at the University of Maryland.
TUNA Therapy provides long-term relief of BPH symptoms in a
single treatment. It is performed as an outpatient procedure
in a urologist's office. It typically takes less than an
hour to perform and most patients require local anesthesia.
Most patients return to normal activities within 48 hours.
TUNA Therapy is affordable and cost effective. It is covered
by most private health plans and Medicare approved the
procedure for in-office reimbursement on Jan. 1, 2000.
The procedure received marketing clearance from the U.S.
Food and Drug Administration in 1996 for the treatment of
symptoms due to urinary outflow obstruction secondary to
benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) in men older than 50 with
prostate sizes between 20 and 50 cc. Since its introduction,
more than 33,000 TUNA procedures have been performed
"Even with medications, I was still living my life around
where the nearest bathroom was located -- it was
embarrassing and distressing," said David Schachnovsky, who
underwent a TUNA procedure performed by Dr. Naslund. "I felt
surgery was the only way I would get relief, so my doctor
explained the available options. Now I'm back taking long
walks on the beach with my wife. My life is normal again,
which is a fantastic feeling."
The best protection against prostate problems is to have
regular medical check-ups that include prostate exams.
Symptoms of BPH include a frequent urge to urinate,
difficulty urinating and the dribbling of urine.
Medtronic, Inc. (www.medtronic.com), headquartered in
Minneapolis, is the world's leading medical technology
company, providing lifelong solutions for people with
chronic disease. More information about Medtronic Urology is
available online at www.medtronic-urology.com.