Laser prostatectomy for benign prostatic obstruction

R M Hoffman, R MacDonald, T J Wilt
Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2004, (1): CD001987

BACKGROUND: Symptomatic benign prostatic obstruction is a common problem for older men. The gold standard treatment, transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP), significantly improves urinary symptoms and urinary flow. However, TURP has up to a 20% morbidity. Currently, there are a number of minimally invasive procedures that may be safe, effective alternatives to TURP. One promising surgical technique is laser prostatectomy.

OBJECTIVES: To assess the therapeutic efficacy and safety of laser prostatectomy techniques for treating men with symptomatic benign prostatic obstruction.

SEARCH STRATEGY: Randomized controlled trials were identified from the Cochrane Collaboration Library, MEDLINE, EMBASE, bibliographies of retrieved articles and reviews, and contacting expert relevant trialists and laser manufacturers.

SELECTION CRITERIA: All randomized controlled trials evaluating laser prostatectomy treatment for men with symptomatic BPH. Trials were eligible if they (1) were randomized comparisons of a laser technique with TURP, (2) included at least 10 men with BPO in each treatment arm, (3) provided at least 6-months follow-up, and (4) included clinical outcomes such as urologic symptom scales or urodynamic measurements.

DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS: Data extraction and assessment of methodologic quality was performed independently by two reviewers. Information on study design, subject and treatment characteristics, adverse events, urinary symptoms, and urinary flow were extracted using a standard form.

MAIN RESULTS: 20 studies involving 1898 subjects were evaluated, including studies 4 with multiple comparisons. We found 8 comparisons of TURP with contact lasers, 8 with non-contact lasers, 4 with hybrid techniques, and one with interstitial laser coagulation (ILC). Two studies compared transurethral electrovaporization (TUVP) with contact lasers, one study compared interstitial laser coagulation with transurethral microwave thermotherapy (TUMT), and one study compared holmium contact lasers (HoLRP) with open prostatectomy. Among the studies comparing laser prostatectomy with TURP, follow-up duration ranged from 6 to 36 months. Mean age (67.2 yrs), mean baseline symptom score (20.2), and mean baseline peak urinary flow (9.2 ml/s) did not differ by treatment group. The pooled percentage improvements for mean urinary symptoms ranged from 59% to 68% with lasers and 63% to 77% with TURP. The improvements for mean peak urinary flow ranged from 56% to 119% with lasers and 96% to 127% with TURP. Overall, laser subjects were less likely to receive transfusions or develop strictures and their hospitalizations were shorter. Non-contact laser subjects were more likely to have dysuria, urinary tract infection, and retention. Re-operation occurred more often following laser procedures.

REVIEWER'S CONCLUSIONS: Laser techniques are a useful alternative to TURP for treating BPO. Small sample sizes and differences in study design limit any definitive conclusions regarding the preferred type of laser technique. Data were insufficient to compare laser techniques with other minimally invasive procedures.

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