Laser therapy is an effective treatment for benign prostatic hyperplasia but has high costs, according to a recent study titled “Economic Evaluation Study (Cheer Compliant) Laser Prostatectomy for Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia: Outcomes and Cost-effectiveness” published in the journal Medicine.
BPH, a benign increase in prostate size, causes several complications, including urinary tract infections and bladder decompensation. Treatments for BPH include medication and surgery, with transurethral resection of the prostate used as the preferable surgical treatment. Recently, alternative therapies, such as laser prostatectomy, have been developed with benefits for patients (for example, fewer bleedings) but the high cost associated with this procedure has prevented its wide use in the clinics.
Researchers investigated which surgical treatment for lower urinary tract symptoms is preferred by patients and most cost-effective. Additionally, they determined patients’ outcomes and perioperative complications when treated with laser prostatectomy. This retrospective study compared two groups of patients: a group composed of 100 patients treated with transurethral resection of the prostate and a second group of 100 who underwent high-powered 120W (GreenLight HPS) laser prostatectomy. Both groups underwent therapy by the same surgeon. Uroflow parameters and patients’ prostate symptoms, determined using the International Prostate Symptom Score, were collected before surgery; moreover, the uroflow and postvoiding residual volumes were analyzed before treatment and at different time-points after therapy, specifically after three, six, 12, and 24 months.
The authors found that an improved symptom score in the laser therapy group was associated with a decreased stay in hospital and increased patients’ quality-of-life score when compared to those submitted to transurethral resection of the prostate. Laser prostatectomy costs were higher, however, than any other transurethral resection of the prostate procedure performed at the hospital.
Accordingly, while all hospital admissions costs were similar between both groups, those patients treated with laser therapy registered higher total admission charges due to the laser equipment cost, especially the laser fiber. The perioperative complications analyzed in the study, which included the need to check for bleeding, urinary retention rate, or urosepsis rate within 30 days after the surgery, were roughly the same between both groups.
The authors highlight these results reveal that treating BPH patients with laser prostatectomy is clinically effective, but it is still burdened with higher costs when compared to traditional treatments.