What Are the Side Effects of Surgery for BPH

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The complication rates after surgery for an enlarged prostate (benign prostatic hyperplasia, BPH) are not as low as clinical trial reports would lead you to believe, according to a new report presented at the 27th Annual Congress of the European Association of Urology. Side effects of surgery for BPH are higher in real life, and men should be aware of their risks.

Surgery for BPH typically is reserved for men who have severe disease or who have not responded to other treatments. The two most commonly performed procedures are open prostatectomy (removal of the prostate) and transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP), which involves passing an electrified wire loop through the urethra to the prostate and slicing away tissue that is blocking urine flow.

The authors of the new research reviewed data on BPH surgery and its complications regarding cases performed in France from 2004 to 2007 and determined that compared with data from clinical trials, BPH surgery complications have been underestimated.

In particular, they warned that additional surgery after initial BPH surgery is not rare, and that it is more common among men who have a TURP (4.77% vs. 2-3% reported previously) than those who undergo open prostatectomy (1.92%).

Other complications or side effects following BPH surgery included clot removal (3.7% after prostatectomy, 3.4% after TURP), surgery for urethral stenosis (1.3% and 2.7%, respectively), and surgery for urinary incontinence (0.09% and 0.18%, respectively). Men should discuss the risks of BPH surgery with their healthcare professional before undergoing any procedures.


Charnow JA. BPH surgery complication rates underestimated. Renal & Urology News 2012 Apr 30

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