Transurethral microwave therapy (TUMT), is a minimally-invasive procedure used to treat urinary symptoms (including urinary frequency, urgency, straining, and intermittent flow) that are caused by an enlarged prostate or BPH.
In TUMT, a small microwave antenna is inserted through the tip of the penis into the urethra (the tube that carries urine from the bladder). The antenna is extended until it reaches the portion of the urethra that is surrounded by the prostate and then begins to emit microwave energy. This energy heats and destroys the excess prostate tissue that is blocking urine flow without damaging other tissue.
What to expect
The TUMT procedure is performed on an outpatient basis. Patients will need to arrange transportation home after the procedure and generally won’t be able to drive with a catheter in their bladder.
Work, strenuous activity and lifting are not recommended for three to five days after the treatment. Most men can resume having sexual intercourse approximately two weeks after having TUMT.
Noticeable improvements in urinary symptoms may not be experienced until several weeks to months after the procedure as the body needs time to break down and absorb the overgrown prostate tissue that the microwave energy has destroyed.
What are the advantages of TUMT over other BPH treatments?
Advantages of TUMT versus other options such as TURP and open prostatectomy include:
- Avoiding the hospital. Since TUMT is typically performed as an outpatient procedure, it is a safer option than surgery for those with certain other health problems.
- Lower bleeding risk. As a result of being a minimally invasive procedure, TUMT is a good option for those who take blood thinners or those whose blood doesn’t clot normally due to a bleeding disorder.
- Lower risk of a dry orgasm. TUMT has a lower likelihood than certain other BPH treatments of the release of semen into the bladder during ejaculation. While not harmful, this can interfere with fertility.
What are the risks of TUMT?
TUMT carries few if any, complications. Potential risks may include:
- The worsening of urinary symptoms
- Trouble urinating for a few days after the procedure, which would necessitate a catheter
- The possibility of a urinary tract infection, which is possible after any prostate procedure.
- Need for re-treatment.
Who is a candidate for TUMT?
TUMT is generally used for men with small to moderate-sized prostates and those who have been dissatisfied with the results of other BPH treatments.
The procedure may not be a good alternative for men who have had:
- A penile implant
- Narrowing of the urethra
- Certain types of BPH treatment that affect the median lobe of the prostate.