An electrician from South London has become the first patient at BMI Blackheath Hospital to undergo a revolutionary procedure to ‘fix’ his constant urge to pee.
Rick Adams, 53, owner of an electrical installation company in Bromley Kent, was finding he was getting up several times a night and had a regular urge to do so in the day – all because of an enlarged prostate.
The prostate is a gland found in men close to the bladder. It can become enlarged as men age - perhaps due to hormonal changes - putting pressure on the bladder and squeezing the tube (urethra) that leads from the bladder to the outside. This can lead to difficulties starting to pee, a frequent need to pee or difficulty emptying the bladder.
But now, thanks to surgeon Mr Mohamed Hammadeh and a procedure called UroLift®, Mr Adams is now sleeping well and back at work within days of the operation – as well as looking forward to resurrecting his Iron Man and sprint triathlon training which he had put on hold.
Mr Adams said: “For the past two to three years I've been getting up about once or twice a night, sometimes three or four times a night. You get used to it, you get used to the sleep deprivation, you do not even realise it is building up. But sleep deprivation can affect you physically as well as mentally. The body has not a chance to repair itself if it cannot sleep.
“I am covered by Bupa health insurance and I had a full health test as part of that. That included a prostate test, which showed it was slightly enlarged.
“I was able to have additional tests. I had a flow test, scans, blood tests, other tests to eliminate certain things. They confirmed my enlarged prostate was causing the reduced flow and me not emptying my bladder.”
Traditional methods to address the issue include making lifestyle changes to reduce the symptoms like cutting out coffee and drinking fewer liquids in the evenings or taking medication to relax the muscles or speed up urine production. Men sometimes choose to have surgery to reduce the size of the prostate or remove it completely – but that can also come with side effects of reduced sexual function.
None of these appealed to Mr Adams. He said: “My options were to stay as I was, to stay on tablets for the rest of my life which I was not prepared to do, or have a procedure.
“I did not want them to cut the prostate. My father had his prostate cut when it was enlarged, but he had other side effects of the surgery.
“But the UroLift® procedure has been out for a while now, and it has had some great results. There were no side effects, no tablets, and that’s what appealed to me.”
Mr Hammadeh explained that because the UroLift® procedure did not cut the muscle – unlike other procedures – recovery was quicker and there was no loss of sexual function.
“I’m now in to my third week since the operation and the situation has improved considerably. I’m now sleeping right through or only getting up once in the night. All other functions are working correctly. I’m now looking to start training again in the next week”
The procedure involved the surgeon inserting tiny implants into the prostate through keyhole surgery; these are then lifted to hold apart the sections of the prostate and then permanently secured into place. Mr Hammadeh said it was like holding apart two curtains and securing them with curtain ties. There is a much reduced risk of scarring and incontinence compared to other procedures.
Mr Hammadeh said that the side effects of traditional surgery – including impact on erectile function etc.– deterred many men from seeking it. The UroLift® procedure does not affect these important areas of sexual function and offers a long-lasting solution without the unwanted side effects.
Research by Teleflex, the provider of the UroLift® technology, shows that more than 2 million men are treated for enlarged prostates in the UK. Of those, 69% (1.4 million men) are classified as ‘watchful waiting’ to see how their symptoms progress, also trying lifestyle changes to alleviate symptoms. Medical therapy and medication are chosen by 29% (613,000 men) and just 1.7% (35,000 men) elect surgery. From this it can be seen how men are seeking all the alternatives before surgery as a last resort.
More information about the UroLift® System.
21st January 2021