Lasers used in the treatment of BPH come in various types. ;Generally lasers are categorized according to their wavelength, however they are often referred to by the element that is used within the laser to generate laser light at the particular wavelength. For example a KTP laser generates green light at 532 nanometers (nm), a Holmium laser generates laser light at around 2100 nanometers, Thulium lasers generate light at around 2010 nanometers. Some wavelengths penetrate deeply into tissue and tend to cook” the tissue somewhat like the RF or Microwave therapies discussed elsewhere. Some laser wavelengths on the other-hand are highly absorbed by water and readily vaporize tissue removing it on contact.
Lasers have been shown to provide the advantages of lower infection rates and quicker healing in a variety of surgical procedures. Lasers have been used in the treatment of BPH for over 20 years. Although lasers have been used to treat BPH for years, their use has continued to evolve as different laser wavelengths have been introduced. Lasers can be used to remove excessive prostatic tissue in several ways. Following is a discussion of the various methods.
Why the Cyber TM Laser
The Cyber TM is the most recent, and the most advanced laser introduced for the treatment of BPH. Its wavelength of 2,010 nm provides an optimal blend of vaporizing, cutting and cauterizing effects. The Cyber TM laser provides the surgeon with several advantages over other lasers that translate into benefits for the patient. The Cyber TM allows for two surgical techniques that most lasers do not. The Cyber TM can both vaporize tissue as well as vapo-resect tissue. A surgeon may want to resect tissue if he feels that examination of a tissue sample by a pathologist might be in order to check for the presence of cancer. A surgeon may also prefer to resect tissue if the prostate gland is very large which, otherwise, would take an excessive amount of time to vaporize. Minimizing the time spent under anesthesia reduces risk to the patient and shortens the post-op recovery period.
The Cyber TM allows for the maintenance of a very clear operative field by not creating floating tissue fragments, blood or excessive bubbles. Visualization is further improved since the surgeon is not required to wear color distorting protective eyewear. Furthermore, the invisible beam of the Cyber TM does not create glare like some other visible wavelength lasers. When taken together, these three factors significantly improve the surgeon’s ability to see what he is doing and helps him not make mistakes that might result from poor visualization.
The 2 micron wavelength of the Cyber TM is highly absorbed by water. This means that in the aqueous surgical field associated with prostate surgery, the laser beam travels only 2 millimeters beyond the tip of the fiber before the energy is absorbed by the surrounding water. Some other laser wavelengths travel far enough in water to create the risk that some or all of the beam may over-shoot the targeted tissue and damage more distant tissue not intended for treatment.
The Cyber TM allows the use of forward-firing fiber-optic laser fibers which allows the surgeon to know, at all times, where the laser energy is being directed. Inadvertent damage to tissue resulting from lack of awareness of the orientation of side-firing laser fibers is a risk that is avoided with the forward-firing laser fibers that can be used with the Cyber TM.
Because the Cyber TM removes the unwanted tissue during the procedure rather than relying of later slough or reabsorption, the beneficial effects of the procedure are realized shortly after the procedure. Once the catheter is removed (usually after one or two days), patients notice as significant improvement in symptoms. Some other BPH treatments have much longer catheterization periods and require weeks before the patient realizes the full benefits of the therapy.