A new low-temperature plasma technology promises less invasive treatment for men with Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH), or enlarged prostate. The PlasmaButton Vaporisation Electrode developed by Olympus allows surgeons to literally vaporize the enlarged prostate tissue quickly, safely and virtually bloodlessly, with minimal damage to healthy tissue.

BPH affects about one third of men over the age of 50 and half of those over 70 and is the most common non-malignant disease of the prostate. Symptoms can include frequent and painful urination and, if left untreated, it can cause severe urinary tract infections, or even renal failure.

Conventional surgical treatment known as TURP (transurethral resection of prostate) involves removing part of the prostate through the urethra using cutting loops or lasers. While the outcome for the majority of patients receiving TURP is considered excellent, the number one risk associated with the procedure is bleeding, which makes it unsafe for many patients with cardiac problems.

The PlasmaButton technology gently vaporizes the tissue with a small button-shaped electrode device that involves little direct contact with the tissue. The surgeon uses a hovering technique to quickly and accurately vaporize the affected tissues and coagulate the surrounding healthy tissue, thereby minimizing bleeding.

Olympus says the PlasmaButton treatment is virtually bloodless, allows excellent visualization for surgeons, and is also easy for them to master. A clinical study showed that treatment time, length of hospital stay and operative and post-operative complications were all less than for patients undergoing TURP treatment. Additionally, blood loss and operative complications were also less.

More detailed information is available at the Olympus website.

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