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While the operation – called transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP) – is effective, it can lead to loss of sexual function, bleeding and incontinence.
The steam treatment, called Rezum, simply shrinks the prostate with few side effects. The procedure, performed under local anaesthetic and sedation, involves injecting nine-second bursts of steam into the prostate, via a thin tube inserted into the urethra.
The steam is injected at 1cm intervals, killing enough prostate tissue to shrink the enlarged gland.
Surgeons at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust in London and Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust have trialled the procedure on 150 men, with remarkable results.
Professor Hashim Ahmed, a consultant urological surgeon at Imperial, said other hospitals are poised to roll out the treatment as soon as they get the okay from health watchdog NICE.
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