A new device that aims to relieve the urinary tract problems caused by enlarged prostate glands in men is the focus of UK health watchdog NICE’s draft guidance that opens for consultation on Friday 29 May.
The UK’s National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) is asking for views on draft medical technology guidance. The guidance provisionally recommends the use of the UroLift system for treating the symptoms of benign prostatic hyperplasia, when the device is used in a day surgery unit.
An enlarged prostate can push against the urethra, making it difficult for a man to pass urine. Using the UroLift system involves inserting implants to move the excess prostate tissue away from the urethra, which stops the extra tissue blocking the flow of urine. The system avoids the need for surgery or cutting away the extra prostate tissue, which are the methods commonly used to treat a urine blockage caused by an enlarged prostate.
The guidance says the UroLift system should be considered for men aged 50 years or older with urinary tract symptoms, where the size of their prostate is less than 100cm3. The claimed benefits of the system include preserving sexual function, fewer follow-up visits and reduction in the length of hospital stay because treatment with UroLift can be carried out as a day procedure. The draft guidance estimates that savings of up £336 ($600) per patient could be made using this system when compared with other treatments.
Prostate enlargement is a common condition in older men – around 60% of men aged 60 or over have some degree of prostate enlargement. Along with difficulties passing urine, an enlarged prostate gland blocking the urine tract include may lead to severe urinary tract infections, urinary retention or renal failure, but the condition doesn’t pose other direct risks to health. If drug treatment and conservative management options have been unsuccessful or are not appropriate, then surgery is offered when problems passing urine are severe.
Professor Carole Longson MBE, Director of the NICE Centre for Health Technology Evaluation, said: “As men get older many may develop an enlarged prostate gland which can lead to problems in passing urine, and other urinary tract symptoms. This draft guidance on the UroLift system provisionally supports the use of this device for men over 50 years old with urinary tract symptoms, when performed as a day case. The evidence examined by the independent Medical Technologies Advisory Committee indicates that as well as benefiting patients by avoiding surgery, it protects sexual function, and it’s also likely to benefit the NHS by saving money. We welcome comments on the draft guidance as part of this consultation.”