Enlarged Prostate Treatment with Microwave Heat

Micro-waves or hot needles for enlarged prostate treatment might be the choice if you are:

  • A young man concerned about the risk of impotence and/or urine leak 
  • Taking blood thinning medication
  • Your BPH is not too advanced
  • Very elderly and/or have other severe medical conditions (diabetes or kidney disease etc)
  • (because of the otherwise major operation risk under general anaesthesia)


In less invasive prostate treatments, no external cut in the skin is made and only some of the diseased tissue is removed. You will be treated in an out-patient clinic under local anaesthetic. 

If you request a general anaesthetic other arrangements will be made, but GA does have its own risks.

LESS INVASIVE Enlarged Prostate Treatment

Note that these procedures for enlarged prostate treatment may or may not be available in your local facility.

  1. TUMT
  2. TUNA - I bet you wish this was the fish!
  3. Temporary stenting


In TU (transurethral) prostate treatments, a probe is used to access the prostate through the urethra from the tip of the penis.  Transurethral means ‘through the urethra’.  Laser technology can also be used.

The applied heat destroys (ablates) some of the excess prostate tissue closest to the urethra so that it is not so squashed and urine can flow normally again.

1. TUMT (transurethral microwave thermotherapy)

This is for a moderately enlarged prostate where the disease is in early stages and symptoms are not too severe.

A catheter delivers a microwave antenna to the prostate via the urethra. The heat generated causes cell death which decreases prostate volume. The heat needs to be controlled so a temperature device is inserted into the rectum to ensure the heat is high enough to treat (in this case destroy excess prostate tissue) but not too high to damage the urethra itself.


The International Prostate Symptom Score (I-PSS) is used to medically quantify severity of symptoms.  Factors such as other medical conditions and ability to undergo GA, are also considered when the surgeon makes his recommendation for enlarged prostate treatment.

TUMT  - no GA, no hospital stay, minimal excess tissue removal, less blood loss, less complication such as excess fluid absorption, no urine leakage, minimal chance of urinary sphincter damage but also less effect in terms of reduction in size of prostate volume.

2. TUNA (transurethral radio frequency needle ablation)

Again this is not for the larger of enlarged prostates.  Heated needles are passed through a cystoscope or catheter directly into the diseased tissue areas that have been identified by transrectal ultrasound.  Where the hot needle is applied, the tissue contracts quickly so reducing the size of the prostate. This heat in direct contact means that results are seen sooner than with the effects of heat from microwave radiation in TUMT.

Side effects with TUNA may be more relevant.

3. Prostate Enlargement Treatment with STENTS

Stents are small tubes that hold the urethra open at the place where it passes through the prostate  Although we think of the urethra as being squashed by the growth of prostate tissue, it may otherwise be blocked or kinked (like a kink in a garden hose)

Stents provide temporary relief of symptoms, usually when corrective surgery is delayed for some reason.

The stent expands once inserted and so keeps the urinary channel clear. They are made of a metal or plastic mesh type material.  Disadvantages are that they need to be replaced after a period of time, may be difficult to remove and may not be effective if the prostate continues to grow.

MORE INVASIVE Surgical Prostate Treatments

TUIP (incision) may also be considered a less invasive procedure for enlarged prostate treatment, but it does involve cutting of the internal prostate tissue, like TURP (resection).

Part 1- Watch and Wait / Medication

Part 2 - Less Invasive Heat Treatment (top of this page)

Part 3 - TURP or TUIP (more invasive)

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