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Men with enlarged prostates offered robotic treatment by fourth University Hospital

Aquablation is a robotic method that uses a high-pressure saline solution to remove tissue.

The Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals (NNUH) Urology team have become the first in the East of England to provide the option of a less invasive robotic treatment for men with enlarged prostates.

It is only the fourth NHS hospital nationwide to include the option, alongside Guy’s and St Thomas’, the Royal Berkshire, and Basingstoke and North Hampshire NHS Trusts.

The procedure – aquablation – is a robotic method that uses a high-pressure saline solution to remove tissue from the enlarged prostate of patients who meet the criteria.

It has demonstrated across multiple trials to have fewer side effects than the common ‘transurethral resection of the prostate’ system – which involves cutting away sections using heat – including the preservation of sexual function.

Furthermore, it has reduced operating recovery time, and the procedure can be up to 45% faster. Most men will have the catheter removed the following day, boosting the patient experience and also improving bed capacity.

The team is led by Mark Rochester, Consultant Surgeon and Service Director for Urology, and his colleague NNUH Urology Consultant Surgeon, Utsav Reddy. The pair have been operating on patients using the technology since April this year.

Reddy said: “We are using ultra-sound guided robotic technology to remove the unwanted tissue. It is using robotic technology to do something we have been doing manually for years. So far around 20,000 of these robotic procedures have been carried out worldwide.”

He added: “Patients are telling us they are pleased with the outcomes, and we are gathering data on this.”

Rochester concluded: “By being able to offer this treatment along with other similar treatments means we have a greater patient choice. And, by seeing more patients per day, waiting times are reduced, which is hugely impactful for someone who has been waiting with a catheter.”