Thousands of middle aged men who suffer from the common condition of an enlarged prostate could be spared surgery thanks to a new 20-minute steam treatment.
The procedure, which involves injecting steam to destroy excess prostate tissue, has been given the green light from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice).
New guidance from Nice for the NHS in England has recommended the use of Rezum, a minimally invasive procedure.
The health organisation said that up to 10,000 men in England with an enlarged prostate could benefit from the treatment every year.
One in three men over the age of 50 suffer from symptoms of an enlarged prostate, which can include needing to visit the toilet more frequently and with more urgency and experiencing difficulty emptying their bladder.
Some current treatments use heat to destroy excess prostate tissue and this can have considerable side effects.
Nice said the Rezum steam treatment improves quality of life and preserves their sexual function.
Clinical evidence analysed by Nice’s medical technology advisory committee shows that using the Rezum procedure relieves lower urinary tract symptoms in men with moderate to severe symptoms benign prostatic hyperplasia of who have a moderately enlarged prostate.
The treatment, which can be performed as a day procedure, is currently offered in 18 NHS centres.
Those who want to access treatment have been encouraged to speak to their doctor, Nice said.
Meindert Boysen, deputy chief executive and director of the Centre for Health Technology Evaluation at Nice, said: “This technology could make a real difference to the lives of men up and down the country.
“Our committee has looked at the evidence and believe this quick 20-minute procedure under general or local anaesthetic will relieve the symptoms of an enlarged prostate, something many men suffer in silence with.
“The fact Rezum is unlikely to damage surrounding tissue and nerves means it has a low risk of causing sexual dysfunction.”