Surgery overpromoted in case of enlarged prostate: Study

October 18th, 2008 - 1:11 pm ICT by IANS  

London, Oct 18 (IANS) A new study has warned that in case of enlarged prostate, new surgical procedures are being promoted without proper or adequate evaluation.For many, the symptoms may involve going to the toilet a dozen times overrnight and not getting a good night’s sleep. Doctors call the condition benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). It afflicts one in five men in their 50s and the majority in their 70s will have symptoms.

The treatment choices have greatly expanded in recent years. However the German Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care’s (IQWiG) evaluation of the research raises questions about many surgical techniques.

According to Peter Sawicki, director of the institute, “not everything that is new is necessarily an improvement. Better information is necessary to help men and their doctors weigh up the advantages and disadvantages of the various treatments.”

Most men with BPH symptoms will never need surgery. According to researchers’ best estimates, about three out of every 10 men in Europe will handle their prostate symptoms without medication or surgery and perhaps only one in 10 will have surgery. The rest will use medications, including herbal medicines, if their symptoms become too troublesome.

“In Germany and other European countries, drugs called alpha blockers have taken over as the most common treatment choice for benign prostatic hyperplasia,” said Sawicki, a professor, reports an IQWiG press release.

“These drugs were originally developed to reduce high blood pressure, but prostate symptoms will also improve at least a little for 60 percent of the men who use them.”

In analysing the research results for surgery, the institute concluded that the original surgical procedures still have the best results.

“Prostate surgery can be very effective, but the adverse effects are a major concern for many men. Some of the newer techniques might have fewer adverse effects, but they may be so much less effective that the symptoms return, as bad as ever, within a couple of years,” Sawicki said.

The institute’s website,, provides the public with easy-to-understand information about current medical developments and research on important health issues.

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