A quick-fire treatment for middle-aged men suffering the effects of an enlarged prostate can now be treated by National Health Service (NHS) doctors in the U.K.
The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has given NHS doctors the go-ahead to perform a new steam treatment under a local anaesthetic, thereby avoiding any need for patients to stay in hospitals overnight.
It is estimated that one in three men over 50 suffer the effects of an enlarged prostate, which can mean frequent trips to the toilet and difficulty emptying the bladder. It is not connected to prostate cancer.
Under the operation, a small probe is passed up through the urethra to inject a puff of steam that will kill off tissue and reduce the size of the swollen prostate. The dead cells are reabsorbed by the body.
The treatment, known as Rezum, works after water vapour is injected for around nine seconds at a temperature of 103 degrees Celsius.
In a statement Tuesday, NICE said patients may have to take antibiotics and have a urinary catheter for some days after the procedure.
Previously in the U.K., men were only offered drugs such as alpha blockers or a more invasive operation to help fix the problem. For some however, NICE said the surgery had caused complications including incontinence, bleeding or sexual dysfunction.
The public health body said the treatment was less likely to cause sexual dysfunction than some other procedures.
Professor Kevin Harris, program director and clinical advisor for the Interventional Procedures Programme at NICE, said: "This treatment is one of a number of options that are effective and safe for benign prostatic hyperplasia. Approving this procedure gives men the chance to talk to their clinician about which is right for them."