Rezūm is FDA-approved and completed during a single visit.
Medication alone isn’t always an effective way to treat an enlarged prostate (benign prostatic hyperplasia), a condition that affects half of all men 60 and over. While surgery is a possible solution when urination habits are affected as the prostate pressed on the urethra, some patients prefer to explore alternative options due to the risks associated with more invasive procedures such as prostate removal.
A fairly new option approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 2015 is Rezūm therapy, also referred to as convective radiofrequency water vapor thermal therapy.
What Is Rezūm Therapy?
Rezūm therapy is a minimally invasive outpatient procedure that users water vapor to treat BPH symptoms. The procedure involves the use of a handheld device that’s inserted via the urethra (urine tube) to the area where the prostate is located. Because radio waves are used with this treatment, it’s considered a transurethral needle ablation (TUNA) method. Instead of using radio waves to generate heat that’s directly applied to tissues, however, the technique uses a similar process to generate thermal energy to produce water vapor.
How Is It Done?
Completed during a single visit, Rezūm therapy uses small amounts of carefully delivered steam to affect excessive prostate tissue. It’s a process that damages cell structures in a way that results in a reduction in the size of the prostate. There is no need for general anesthesia, although numbing gel or a local anesthetic may be used around the urethra to maintain patient comfort.
Who Is a Preferred Patient?
Normally, ideal candidates for Rezūm therapy are men with lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS) secondary to an enlarged prostate and those without serious underlying conditions also contributing to BPH symptoms. Before Rezūm therapy is recommended, the extent of a patient’s symptoms will be determined along with the reason for the prostate’s enlargement. A combination of various blood, urine, and image tests are usually done to evaluate the prostate and rule out any other urinary system issues that may need to be addressed before therapy. The size of the enlargement and how it’s affecting the urethra and the urination process will also be considered.
What Happens After Therapy?
Patients are typically able to drive themselves home following the procedure. Most men who have water vapor therapy are able to resume normal activities within a few days. It’s possible for some patients to see improvements, such as fewer issues with frequent nighttime urination, within a few weeks. Follow-up evaluations are often done to determine how well the treatment corrected pre-therapy issues. BPH symptoms that may improve following Rezūm therapy include:
- Weak or fading urine streams
- Difficulty starting urination
- Straining during urination
- Incomplete voiding
- Urge-based incontinence
- Leakage during urination
Because Rezūm therapy is a newer treatment option, there’s no long-term data available yet. However, it has gone through extensive clinical studies and trails, all of which have shown it to be a safe option for carefully evaluated candidates for the procedure.