by Sophie Lutter
The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) announced last Wednesday (25 February) that they would be encouraging NHS England to use a new surgical technique called TransUrethral Resection in saline (TURis) system to treat men with an enlarged prostate.
In the UK around 40 per cent of men over 50 years old, and 75 per cent of men in their seventies have symptoms caused by Benign Prostatic Enlargement (BPE), such as a reduced flow of urine or needing to get up in the night to pee.
The TURis system is similar to an endoscope – a camera on a long tube that allows surgeons to see inside the body through only a small cut. But as well as a camera to allow the surgeon to see the tissue, it also uses electricity, pulsing within the prongs of the device, to cut away or vaporise excess prostate tissue.
This new technique is an improvement on existing treatments because it is safer for patients. It causes less blood loss during surgery, a lower risk of burn injury and a lower risk of painful urination after surgery. It may also reduce the amount of time a man has to spend in hospital and the number of hospital readmissions.
It’s good news that NICE have recommended that the NHS England adopt this technology, but the health systems in each devolved nation will still have to assess it individually. And it’s important that local commissioners in England, who decide which technologies to adopt and pay for in their areas, make this technique available to all men who need it, regardless of where they live.
Karen Stalbow, Head of Policy and Campaigns at Prostate Cancer UK said: “NICE’s decision to support the use of the TURis system on the NHS is great news for men who suffer from an enlarged prostate. The system improves on existing surgery to treat this condition by eliminating the risk of a potentially dangerous side effect called TUR syndrome, which, in extreme cases, can cause life-threatening events such as a coma. It’s now crucial that this important treatment is made available to men who need it and we urge local commissioning bodies to step up to make this happen”.