Practice patterns in benign prostatic hyperplasia surgical therapy: the dramatic increase in minimally invasive technologies

Xinhua Yu, Sean P Elliott, Timothy J Wilt, A Marshall McBean
Journal of Urology 2008, 180 (1): 241-5; discussion 245

PURPOSE: We describe the trends in transurethral prostatectomy and minimally invasive surgical treatments for benign prostate hyperplasia from 1999 through 2005 among elderly male Medicare beneficiaries.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: Benign prostatic hyperplasia surgeries were identified using the annual 100% Medicare carrier files which contain physician claims for services reimbursed under Medicare Part B. The annual age group specific procedure rates as well as the age adjusted rates by race and percent of each procedure performed in different clinical settings were calculated.

RESULTS: The total number of benign prostatic hyperplasia procedures increased 44% from 88,868 in 1999 to 127,786 in 2005. The minimally invasive surgical treatment procedure counts increased 529% from 11,582 to 72,887 and the rates increased 439% from 136 to 678 per 100,000 males during that period. The transurethral prostate resection rate decreased approximately 5% per year. By 2005 minimally invasive surgical treatment procedures accounted for 57% of total benign prostatic hyperplasia surgeries, while transurethral prostate resection accounted for only 39%. Almost all transurethral microwave thermotherapy, 86% of transurethral needle ablation and 54% of laser coagulation procedures were performed in office clinics, and 78% of laser vaporization procedures were performed in hospital outpatient clinics. Black beneficiaries were 17% less likely to receive minimally invasive surgical treatment than whites in 2005.

CONCLUSIONS: The increase of total benign prostatic hyperplasia procedure rate was driven by a marked increase in minimally invasive surgical treatment and a continuing decrease of transurethral prostate resection. Differences in the use of minimally invasive surgical treatment across age and racial groups persisted. This dramatic change in the pattern of benign prostatic hyperplasia surgical treatment may have a profound impact on health care expenditures and outcomes, and requires further investigation.

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