Prostate Procedures

Treatment procedures for an enlarged prostate can vary from minimally invasive to surgical. Benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH) occurs over a long period of time where normal tissue of the prostate gland multiplies and enlarges. The enlarged size of the prostate compresses on the urethra, the tube that drains urine from the bladder. This can result in bladder distention and cause you to retain urine-increasing chances of bladder and urinary tract infections. Any surgery or procedure has its own associated risks and complications, so speak with your doctor about the treatment right for you.


Transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP) is the most common procedure used to treat BPH. A thin, flexible surgical instrument called resectoscope is introduced through the urethra. It removes extra prostate tissue surrounding the urethra relieving the compression. According to the Prostate Institute, TURP is considered a “gold standard” treatment but as with any surgery, the procedure accompanies complications and risks. These include impotence, infection, blood loss or incontinence.


Transurethral needle ablation of the prostate (TUNA) uses radiofrequency to shrink benign prostatic tissue. A catheter with two small electrodes is inserted into the urethra and prostate, where the electrodes emit radiofrequent energy controlled by a temperature-monitoring computer. The emitted heat causes necrosis, or death, of the extra tissue and relieves urethral compression. TUNA is minimally invasive and has few side effects.


Transurethral microwave therapy (TUMT) also uses the application of heat to destroy the overgrown tissue. Healthy nearby tissue is kept cool to keep them intact. According to the Prostate Institute, complications include urinary tract infections because of catheter placement for 2 to 5 days post-procedure.


Transurethral incision of the prostate (TUIP) involves removing overgrown prostate tissue by an incision made in the area where the bladder connects to the urethra, called the bladder neck.


Transurethral electrovaporization of the prostate (TUEP) uses a special instrument that emits a high-frequency electrical current for cutting and evaporating the excess tissue. Men at risk for bleeding complications, such as those taking blood-thinning medications, may be the right candidates for this procedure because the instrument also seals off the uncut tissue to prevent from bleeding.

Urethral Stents

A tiny coil-like device, called a urethral stent, can be applied in the narrowed portion of the urethral tube compressed by the enlarged prostate. The stent will help support the urethra and relieve the obstruction to urinary flow.

Laser Prostatectomy

In this procedure, a laser is used to remove an enlarged prostate. According to the Cornell University Department of Urology, there are four different techniques to laser prostatectomy. The advantage of these procedures is the lack, or decreased risk, of complications.

Surgical Prostatectomy

Prostatectomy can indicate removal of the whole prostate gland or removal of just the hypertrophied (enlarged) part of prostate tissue. Types of prostatectomy vary depending on where the surgical incision is made. Perineal prostatectomy removes the prostate tissue through an incision made between the rectum and scrotum. Retropubic is performed through a low abdominal incision without cutting into the bladder. Suprapubic prostatectomy is performed through a low abdominal incision that cuts into the bladder and part of the urethra to reach the prostate.

About this Author

Based in Chicago, Jojo Genden is passionate about sharing her health and wellness expertise through writing since 2008. She holds a Bachelor of Science in biology from Rockford College, and a Bachelor of Science in nursing from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania. Genden is a registered nurse in the state of Illinois with a background in intensive care.