Holmium Laser Enucleation of the prostate (HoLEP) is a modern alternative to the standard Transurethral Resection of the Prostate (TURP) procedure for bladder outflow obstruction due to BPH. It requires a short period of hospitalisation and an anaesthetic.
HoLEP can be performed on men of any age with urinary outflow obstruction caused by an enlarged prostate. It is particularly indicated in men with large prostates (over 60mls in size) and men on medications to thin the blood such as warfarin, aspirin or clopidogrel.
Advantages of HoLEP
- There is no upper size limit of prostate that can be dis-obstructed – traditionally men with prostates over 100ml in size needed major open surgery
- There is often less bleeding than after a TURP
- Discharge is often quicker than after TURP at 1-2 days
- The chance of recurrence requiring further surgery is very low
- Unlike greenlight laser operations, large quantities of prostate tissue are sent for pathological analysis
- The PSA generally drops to very low levels after HoLEP operations.
AIM OF HoLEP
The aim of HoLEP is to relieve pressure on the tube through which the urine drains (urethra) by anatomically enucleating the majority of excess benign prostate tissue. This is done under a general anaesthetic with the help of a telescopic camera inserted through the penis. The three lobes of the prostate that are cored out intact are pushed into the bladder before being sucked up (morcellated) by a special instrument inserted through the telescopic camera. The pieces are sent for laboratory analysis just in case they might be found to be cancerous. A catheter is placed into the bladder to drain the urine while the raw surface heals, then left in place for around 24 hours before being removed on the day of discharge from hospital. Sterile saline fluid is also irrigated into the bladder through the catheter to dilute any blood in the urine and prevent clots from forming.