Urolift: Helping Men Go With the Flow


PITTSBURGH, Pa. (Ivanhoe Newswire) — By the time a man reaches 60, he has a 50 percent chance of developing BPH, or benign prostatic hyperplasia, an enlarged prostate that makes it tough to urinate. A newly FDA-approved procedure is providing quick relief to men who feel like they always “have to go.”

Seventy-nine-year-old Ed Gallagher is still working virtually full-time as a distributor in the paving industry.  But being outside had a downside.

Gallagher told Ivanhoe, “A normal person would go to the restroom, relieve themselves and be fine for a couple of hours. That wasn’t happening with me.”

Gallagher’s doctor ruled out cancer and diagnosed him with BPH, an age-related enlargement of the prostate. With BPH, the prostate presses on the bladder neck, making it tough to go. Frank Costa, M.D., a urologic surgeon at Allegheny Health Network in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, recommended a new minimally-invasive procedure, done in 30 minutes with mild sedation. It’s called Urolift.

Dr. Costa explained, “We have a lens with a special instrument that enters the bladder and through this, we’re able to deliver two small implants on each side of the prostate gland. And the way that they are delivered they basically engage the prostate and they lift the prostate off the bladder.” (Read Full Interview)

With the prostate lifted, there is an open channel for urine to pass through. The Urolift has few side effects and patients are back on their feet later that day.

“Now what’s different is I wake up and there’s a flow, as we say in the trade,” said Gallagher.

Dr. Costa said until recently, the procedure was not covered by insurance. Now Medicare and many insurance companies are covering Urolift, making it a viable solution for many patients who don’t want traditional surgery, or don’t do well on the prescribed BPH medications.

Contributors to this news report include: Cyndy McGrath, Supervising and Field Producer; Milvionne Chery, Assistant Producer; Roque Correa, Editor; Kirk Manson,  Videographer.





TOPIC:       Urolift: Helping Men Go With the Flow

REPORT:   MB #4190


Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) is an enlarged prostate gland. The prostate gland surrounds the urethra, the tube that carries urine from the bladder out of the body. As the prostate gets bigger, it may squeeze or partly block the urethra. About half of all men older than 75 have some symptoms. It is a normal part of the aging process in men, caused by changes in hormone balance and in cell growth. BPH causes urinary problems such as trouble getting a urine stream started and completely stopped (dribbling), often feeling the need to urinate and this feeling may even wake the person up at night. In a small number of cases, BPH may cause the bladder to be blocked, making it impossible or extremely hard to urinate. This problem may cause backed-up urine (urinary retention), leading to bladder infections or stones or kidney damage.

(Source: http://www.webmd.com/men/prostate-enlargement-bph/benign-prostatic-hyperplasia-bph-topic-overview#1)


Medication is the most common treatment for mild to moderate symptoms of prostate enlargement. Options can include Alpha blockers which relax the bladder neck muscles and muscle fibers in the prostate, making urination easier. These usually work quickly in men with relatively small prostates. Five-alpha reductase inhibitors shrink the prostate by preventing hormonal changes that cause growth.  Both can take up to six months to be effective and both have side effects. Combination drug therapy may be necessary if either medication alone isn’t effective.  In some cases taking Tadalafil, which is often used to treat erectile dysfunction can also treat prostate enlargement; however it’s usually not routine for BPH and generally prescribed only to men who also experience erectile dysfunction. There are also several types of minimally invasive or surgical therapy options if these medications don’t show results.

(Source: http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/benign-prostatic-hyperplasia/basics/treatment/con-20030812)


Urolift is a procedure that can be done in an outpatient setting with a mild sedative and takes less than thirty minutes to complete. A lens with a special instrument enters the bladder and through it two (or four or six) small implants are placed on each side of the prostate gland. These implants are very small, around the size of a staple. The implants lift the prostate off the bladder, similar to curtain rods drawing up curtains. It creates a vision or channel that then the patient can experience the symptom relief they were seeking. Typically surgery would shave or laser the tissue; these procedures can cause bleeding and impair natural anatomy. This procedure doesn’t change the anatomy other than to lift the prostate from the area where it’s causing the problem.

(Source: Dr. Frank Costa)


Doug Braunsdorf



If this story or any other Ivanhoe story has impacted your life or prompted you or someone you know to seek or change treatments, please let us know by contacting Marjorie Bekaert Thomas at mthomas@ivanhoe.com

Doctor Q and A

Read the entire Doctor Q&A for Frank J. Costa, M.D., a urologic surgeon

Read the entire Q&A