Over the past nine years, while discussing using the TherMatrx microwave heat treatment to relieve the symptoms of an enlarged and/or inflamed prostate, 10 questions repeatedly arose. Is it safe? Where is it done? Is anesthesia required? Is it surgery? Is it a one-time treatment? Is relief of the symptoms immediate? Will I have to wear a catheter and a leg bag? Will the treatment affect my sex life? Can it be used to treat prostate cancer? Is success guaranteed?
Is it safe? TherMatrx treatment is very safe. It can be done even on poor risk patients, on Coumadin. When the patient’s own treating physician would not advise them to face the very real risk of actual prostate surgery done in the hospital under anesthesia, TherMatrx often offers a safe solution.
Where is it done? The procedure is done in the office and takes about 30 minutes of actual treatment time. Pretreatment medication is given so total time in the office is about two hours. Patients are advised not to drive themselves home as the effect of the medication takes time to wear off.
Is anesthesia required? No, the pretreatment medication makes anesthesia unnecessary. However, drivers are advised not to drive after the procedure until the following day.
Is it surgery? No, TherMatrx is not a surgical procedure. There is no cutting and no removal of tissue.
Is it a one-time treatment? Yes it is but just as with TURP, LASER, or any of the surgical prostate operations, the prostate may continue to grow over a period of years following surgery and require a repeat TURP or LASER as time goes by. About a third of all TURP surgical procedures will require additional visits to the operating room. Recurrence of symptoms, a number of years following a microwave treatment may also require retreatment.
Is relief immediate? Not usually; as a matter of fact, the symptoms may get a little worse for a day or two and then improvement starts slowly and proceeds rapidly so that by three months, most patients feel sufficiently relieved to stop using their prostate medications altogether.
Will I have to wear a catheter and a leg bag? The vast majority of patients do not require wearing a catheter.
Will the treatment affect my sex life? Not only have there not been any adverse sexual side effects following TherMatrx treatment but there actually is evidence of improvement in sexual functioning in some patients. When the prostate medication is discontinued, usually by three months following treatment, the adverse effect of the medication including erectile dysfunction is gradually relieved.
Can it be used to treat prostate cancer? Microwave therapy is not an appropriate treatment for prostate cancer.
Is success guaranteed? No doctor can ever guarantee 100 percent success but the chance for success using microwave therapy is between 80 and 90 percent.
Have a question? Call Dr. Okun 718-241-6767