Prostate laser surgery is used to relieve moderate to severe urinary symptoms caused by an enlarged prostate, a condition known as benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH).
During prostate laser surgery, your doctor inserts a scope through the tip of your penis into the tube that carries urine from your bladder (urethra). The urethra is surrounded by the prostate. A laser is passed through the scope. The laser delivers energy that is used to shrink or to remove the excess tissue that is blocking the urethra and preventing urine flow.
All lasers use concentrated light to generate precise and intense heat. Laser surgery removes excess prostate tissue by:
- Ablation. The laser melts away excess tissue.
- Enucleation. The laser cuts away excess prostate tissue.
There are different types of prostate laser surgery, such as:
- Photoselective vaporization of the prostate (PVP). A laser is used to melt away (vaporize) excess prostate tissue to enlarge the urinary channel.
- Holmium laser ablation of the prostate (HoLAP). This is a similar procedure to PVP, except that a different type of laser is used to melt away (vaporize) the excess prostate tissue.
- Holmium laser enucleation of the prostate (HoLEP). The laser is used to cut and remove the excess tissue that is blocking the urethra. Another instrument, called a morcellator, is then used to chop the prostate tissue into small pieces that are easily removed.
The type of laser surgery your doctor will perform depends on several factors, including the size of your prostate, your health, the type of laser equipment available and your doctor's training.