New Prostate Treatment Unveiled
LINDA A. JOHNSON
May. 16, 1999
TRENTON, N.J. (AP) _ A new procedure for reducing enlarged prostates is less painful then surgery and doesn't require an overnight hospital stay, the doctor who developed it says.
Prostate enlargement, which is not related to cancer, requires surgery, medication or other treatment in one-fourth of men by age 80, and nearly all show signs of the disorder by 85.
``Everybody's looking for an easy way to treat prostate (enlargement) because so many men have it,'' Dr. Joseph V. DiTrolio of the New Jersey Medical School in Newark, who developed the procedure, said last week.
The disorder can cause difficulty emptying the bladder because the swollen prostate gland constricts flow of urine through the urethra, around which the gland is wrapped.
Blocked flow of urine can damage kidneys and the bladder. In rare cases, it can be fatal.
DiTrolio said his procedure can be done in about a half hour with a local anesthetic, although using a small amount of intravenous sedative is preferable. An overnight hospital stay is not needed.
The procedure is done with a device DiTrolio patented called an InjecTx to see inside the bladder and inject small amounts of purified alcohol into the prostate. The alcohol causes cells to take in too much water and die, thus shrinking the prostate.
The procedure requires the patient to be catheterized for two days, compared to the seven typical for those who choose surgery.
DiTrolio presented results of his first 10 cases at the American Urological Association's annual meeting in Dallas earlier this month. The procedure reduced the prostate, without side effects, in nine of 10 patients who received it, he said.
Patients were only followed for six months, so future research is needed to study long-term effects.
This month, a dozen hospitals and medical clinics begin testing the procedure on about 12 patients each, and more sites may be added. DiTrolio plans to begin selling his device to urologists in January.
Dr. John McConell, chairman of urology at University of Texas Southwestern Medical School in Dallas and the head of a panel drafting new guidelines for treating the disorder, said there is some danger that nearby organs could be damaged if the alcohol misses its target.
But he praised DiTrolio for doing the study, noting he could have begun selling the device without further testing because the Food and Drug Administration has already approved use of alcohol in the body and each component of the new device.
``There is no treatment that has zero risk,'' McConnell said.