NHS Fife has become the first health board in Scotland to use a pioneering new treatment for patients who have an enlarged prostate.
Use of the Rezum procedure, which has been carried out for the first time at Dunfermline’s Queen Margaret Hospital, has been hailed as a major breakthrough in tackling the condition, which is common among men over the age of 50.
The condition can cause those affected to urinate much more frequently and can make it difficult to empty the bladder, which increases the risk of urinary tract infections.
While medication and traditional surgical options are available, the Rezum procedure takes around 10 to 20 minutes to complete and, because it is less invasive, patients can be treated as day-cases and can return home the very same day.
It involves small jets of steam being injected into the prostate to destroy excess tissue and causes the prostate to shrink over a period of weeks.
After performing the first Rezum treatment in Fife, Feras Al Jaafari, a consultant urological surgeon with NHS Fife, commented: “The Rezum procedure is an important step forward in the treatment of men with enlarged prostate here in Fife.
“The new procedure is significantly less invasive than traditional interventions for the condition, meaning that patients can receive the treatment and return home the same day.
“Importantly, the procedure enables patients to recover more quickly than alternative surgical interventions, and because the treatment takes only 20 minutes, patients are required to spend much less time under general anaesthetic, which is ultimately safer.”
Treatment for enlarged prostate routinely involves medication, although doctors admit this is not always effective and in some cases can result in side-effects.
Surgery is also available which can remove part of the prostate to improve urine flow out of the bladder, although these interventions are invasive, require a stay in hospital and can affect sexual function.
The introduction of the Rezum procedure is the latest urological innovation pioneered in the Kingdom and follows on from the successful implementation of the Urolift procedure in 2018.
NHS Fife was also the first health board in Scotland to perform Urolift, which is an alternative treatment for the condition and uses implants to retract enlarged prostate tissue.
Dr Christopher McKenna, NHS Fife medical director, has welcomed the introduction of Rezum in Fife.
“While Covid-19 has affected many of our elective services, including urology, we are continuing to seek out new ways of improving the care and treatment we provide to patients here in Fife,” he said.
“Successfully treating an enlarged prostate can significantly improve people’s day-to-day lives, and this new procedure allows us to do this without the adverse impacts often seen with other treatments.
“In addition to the numerous benefits this treatment can offer to patients, the nature of the procedure means that it can be performed in a fraction of the time it takes to perform conventional surgery for enlarged prostate, meaning that we will likely be able to treat more patients and reduce time people have to wait for treatment.”