Transurethral microwave thermotherapy

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Transurethral microwave thermotherapy
Transurethral microwave thermotherapy catheter in situ

Transurethral microwave thermotherapy is one of a number of effective and safe[1] procedures used in the treatment of lower urinary tract symptoms caused by benign prostatic hyperplasia. Transurethral microwave thermotherapy provides a one-time efficacious treatment of lower urinary tract symptoms due to benign prostatic hypertrophy. It is an alternative treatment to pharmacotherapy such as alpha blockers, transurethral resection of the prostate, transurethral needle ablation of the prostate, photoselective vaporization of the prostate and prostatic removal or prostatectomy.[2]


Transurethral microwave thermotherapy is a non-surgical, minimally invasive therapy that can be performed under a local anesthetic on an outpatient basis. The treatment involves inserting a special microwave urinary catheter into the hyperplastic prostatic urethra. The microwave antenna within the catheter then emits microwaves to heat and destroy the surrounding prostatic tissue.

The procedure can take from 30 minutes to one hour and is well tolerated by patients. Following the procedure, the prostatic tissue will be swollen and irritated. Urologists often place a Foley catheter to prevent the patient from having urinary retention. After three to five days the Foley catheter can be replaced by a temporary prostatic stent to improve voiding without exacerbating irritation symptoms.[3]


The main risks of transurethral microwave thermotherapy include:

  • Urinary retention
  • Infection
  • Postprocedural pain
  • Retrograde ejaculation
  • Intense pain during the procedure
  • Urination pain for several weeks

Evidence is turning in favour of transurethral microwave thermotherapy over transurethral resection of the prostate.[4]


The International Prostate Symptom Score including a quality of life survey, is often used to quantify symptoms and to monitor the response to the treatment. Convalescence is relatively rapid, with most patients able to void and a mean recovery time of less than 5 days at home.

However, prostatic edema is expected after microwave therapy, and this can lead to a risk of urinary retention. While some protocols suggest leaving a Foley catheter in for up to 2 weeks in all patients, other urologists are choosing to place a temporary prostatic stent after the first week following treatment. The stent is worn for 30 days and allows the patient to have volitional voiding with improved quality of life compared to a Foley catheter. Urinary flow generally improves over a few months.

Patients maintained on alpha-blockers after transurethral microwave thermotherapy may experience fewer urinary symptoms and have a decreased incidence of retention.[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Stravodimos KG, Goldfischer ER, Klima WJ, Jabbour ME, Smith AD. 1998 Jun. Transurethral microwave thermotherapy for management of benign prostatic hyperplasia: a single-institution experience. | PMID 9609641
  2. ^ Jonathan Rubenstein, MD | Transurethral Microwave Thermotherapy of the Prostate (TUMT) | Feb 6, 2008
  3. ^ Dineen MK, Shore ND, Lumerman JH, Saslawsky MJ, Corica AP (2008 March 26). Use of a Temporary Prostatic Stent After Transurethral Microwave Thermotherapy Reduced Voiding Symptoms and Bother Without Exacerbating Irritative Symptoms. PMID 18374395
  4. ^ Rowland Illing (2007). "Surgical and Minimally Invasive Interventions for LUTS/BPH: Highlights from 2006". European Urology Supplements. 6 (12): 701–709. doi:10.1016/j.eursup.2007.04.003.
  5. ^ Neal D. Shore; Martin K. Dineenb‡; Mark J. Saslawskyc; Jeffrey H. Lumermand; Alberto P. Corica (1999). "Prospective randomized comparison of high energy transurethral microwave thermotherapy versus alpha-blocker treatment of patients with benign prostatic hyperplasia". J. Urol. 161 (1): 139–43. doi:10.1016/S0022-5347(01)62084-6. PMID 10037386.