Definition

Transurethral radiofrequency (RF) thermal therapy treats an enlarged prostate. It can help to improve the flow of urine.

Reasons for Procedure

Transurethral radiofrequency thermal therapy is done to treat enlarged prostate. A common cause of prostate growth is called BPH.

The prostate is a walnut-sized gland at the neck of the bladder. It surrounds the tube that carries urine outside of the body. An enlarged prostate can squeeze the tube. This makes it harder for urine to pass.

Most men have better urine flow in about 2 weeks.

Possible Complications

Problems are rare, but all procedures have some risk. Your doctor will review problems that can happen such as:

  • Infection, such as urinary tract infection
  • Painful urination
  • Pelvic pain
  • Reaction to anesthesia, such as light-headedness and wheezing

Before your procedure, talk to your doctor about things that can increase your risk of complications such as:

  • Smoking
  • Drinking
  • Chronic disease such as diabetes or obesity

What to Expect

Prior to Procedure

Your doctor will review previous tests. Before the procedure:

  • You may need to stop some medicine. Talk to your doctor before the procedure about all medicine you are taking. This includes over-the-counter medicine and supplements.
  • You may be given antibiotics. This will help to prevent an infection.

Anesthesia

Local anesthesia will be used. It will numb the area but you will be awake.

You may also be given a sedative to help you relax.

General anesthesia may be used. You will be asleep. This option can only be used in a hospital or surgery center.

Description of the Procedure

A thin tube will be passed through the urethra to the prostate area. A camera at the tip of the tube will send images to a screen in the room. This will let your doctor see the area. A special tool will be sent through the tube. The tool kills some cells of the prostate. The tool and tube will be removed when the work is done.

In the days and weeks after, the prostate tissue will shrink. The dead cells will be broken down and removed by the body. As it shrinks, your symptoms should improve.

How Long Will It Take?

15 minutes

Will It Hurt?

Anesthesia will prevent pain during the procedure. You will have some discomfort after the procedure. It can be managed with medicine.

Post-procedure Care

At the Care Center

You will be allowed to rest. Medicine may be given to manage discomfort. A catheter may need to stay in place for up to 3 days.

At Home

You should notice improved urine flow. It will take some time for the area to heal. Strenuous activity will need to be avoided for 1 week. This includes sexual activity.

Call Your Doctor

Call your doctor if any of these occur:

  • Signs of infection, such as fever and chills
  • Pain or burning when passing urine
  • Pain that does not get better with the medications you have been given
  • Discharge that is thick, yellow, green, or milky
  • Stones appear in urine

If you think you have an emergency, call for emergency medical services right away.

Revision Information

  • Reviewer: EBSCO Medical Review Board Adrienne Carmack, MD
  • Review Date: 09/2019 -
  • Update Date: 09/25/2019 -