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Illawarra men undergo Rezum procedure for enlarged prostate

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A groundbreaking new procedure for prostate enlargement – which uses water vapour rather than radical surgery – is now available in the Illawarra.

The first patients underwent the thermal therapy at Shellharbour Private Hospital on Tuesday, and urologist Dr Matthew Threadgate hopes it will offer relief to many men with the common disease.

“The Illawarra is the first centre outside metropolitan Sydney and Melbourne to have access to this technology, which is the latest and most advanced treatment for benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH),” he said.

“About 50 per cent of men aged over 60 will have symptoms of BPH, which include poor urine flow, urine frequency and urgency, and nocturia (excessive urination at night).

“It’s previously been treated with either medications designed to relax the prostate, or with invasive surgery to remove the internal portion of the prostate.”

However both methods had side effects, he said, and could have long-term impacts on urinary or sexual function.

Dr Threadgate said the biggest advantage of the new procedure was that it was minimally invasive, could be done as day surgery, and had minimal to no side effects.

“The Rezum procedure was first used in the US in 2015, and in Australia earlier this year, and has had wide success,” Dr Threadgate said.

“A hand-held device is used to deliver radiofrequency heated sterile water vapour directly into the prostate.

A hand-held device is used to deliver radiofrequency heated sterile water vapour directly into the prostate. Dr Matthew Threadgate

“That causes cellular death to the obstructive prostate tissue cells. Then over the next two to four weeks the body naturally reabsorbs those dead cells and then opens up the prostate, allowing the urine to flow more easily.”

Dr Threadgate said he was trained in the technique at Hurstville Private Hospital, and performed the procedure on three men aged 50-plus on Tuesday.

“It’s a significant advance that is set to become first-line treatment for many Australian men living with prostatic enlargement ... irrespective of prostate shape or size,” he said.

The urologist said it was also a cost-effective option – with the cost equating to 18 months worth of prostate medication.