» The Operation & Recovery

The Operation

What kind of anaesthetic will be used?

Greenlight XPS laser vapourisation of the prostate, also known as Photoselective Vapourisation of the Prostate (PVP), may be performed under general or regional local anaesthesia.

What does the procedure involve?

The procedure involves the passage of a specialised telescope down the water pipe or urethra and through that, the MOxY laser fibre. Vapourisation of the prostate is then performed under direct vision. This continues until a wide channel is created through the prostate gland. A standard urinary catheter or drainage tube is usually placed down the urethra into the bladder at the end of the procedure. This may be removed either later the same day or the morning after.

Watch a sample video of how the procedure is carried out.

How long does the procedure take?

The length of time of vapourisation required and therefore how long the procedure takes, is determined by the size of the prostate. Other factors such as the presence or otherwise of a catheter and in particular the experience of the surgeon not only influences the speed of the procedure but also the volume of tissue removed. Based on current experience the procedure can take between 15 minutes and one hour. Exceptional cases may require a longer procedure.

How long am I in hospital?

Unlike any of the other operations available, Greenlight laser vapourisation of the prostate is the ONLY procedure that can reliably offer a day case option whatever the size of the prostate. Some patients may stay one night in hospital due to unrelated issues or through personal choice.

The Recovery

We encourage an unrestricted return to normal activities as quickly as patient confidence allows. The timing of this may vary from patient to patient. It is probably best to avoid any exertion, heaving lifting, straining etc for a week or so after the operation. This includes sexual activity.

There may be some discomfort or burning when passing urine in the first day or two, and this may continue at a low level for a bit longer, usually settling within the first 3 weeks. Similarly, although the procedure itself is virtually bloodless, it is not that unusual to see some blood in the urine on and off over the first few weeks. This is normal.

In the early phase following the procedure, the first positive changes will be in the strength of the urine stream. Improvements in other urinary symptoms, such as getting up at night to pass urine, going frequently during the day, inability to hold on etc may take longer to be seen, varying from days, weeks or even a number of months to get as good as they are going to be. Some of these symptoms may get worse before they get better.

The enemy of any surgery is infection and an infection in the urine after this surgery may mean a slower pattern of recovery all-round. Symptoms such as ongoing or worsening burning on passing urine, feeling unwell or high temperatures require early consultation with your surgeon or GP.