Purpose: The principle of interstitial laser coagulation is to shrink the prostate by generating intraprostatic necrosis without damaging the urethra or causing tissue sloughing. The clinical efficacy and durability of interstitial laser coagulation in the treatment of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) were evaluated. Materials and Methods: From December 1993 to June 1996, 76 patients with symptomatic BPH were treated with interstitial laser coagulation. A neodymium:YAG laser was used in combination with a specially designed interstitial thermotherapy light guide. The tip of the light guide was inserted into each lobe of the prostate transurethrally under direct vision. All evaluations were made at baseline and then 1, 3, 6 and 12 months after therapy. Treatment outcome was evaluated by International Prostate Symptom Score (I-PSS), flow rate and post-void residual urine volume. Disease specific quality of life was assessed via a quality of life assessment score and a BPH impact index. Independent of symptom assessment, a self-reporting questionnaire was prepared at 3 months postoperatively regarding satisfaction with treatment and sexual function. Results: Among 44 patients followed to 12 months the mean I-PSS significantly decreased from 20.4 at baseline to 7.4, representing 64% improvement (p <0.001). Peak flow rate increased by 50% from a preoperative average of 7.4 to 11.1 ml. per second at 12 months in 42 patients (p <0.001). The post-void residual volume decreased by 57% from 102 to 44 ml. at 12 months in 40 cases (p <0.001). Steady and progressive improvement was observed on quality of life assessment and BPH impact index scores at 3, 6 and 12 months. No patients reported new onset of erectile dysfunction. No serious side effects were observed, except for loss of ejaculation in 3 cases and seminal vesicle abscess in 1. Only 6 patients (8%) required re-treatment for persisting obstructive symptoms during 12 months of followup. A recent change in methods towards more aggressive treatment plausibly influenced the outcomes to require less repeat treatment. Conclusions: After the interstitial laser coagulation procedure satisfactory results were obtained and improvement lasted through 12 months. Although the optimal number of fiber placements for each prostate is not known, more aggressive treatment appears to provide better outcomes.
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