New option for men in need of bathroom breaks

Published: Jul. 7, 2022 at 10:46 PM CDT
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - We’ve all seen the commercials about women in a rush for the restroom because of an overactive bladder. Did you know that a lot of men have their eye on the bathroom, too? But for a different reason, an enlarged prostate.

But now, there’s something new in Lubbock just for men and it’s changing lives.

Ricky Pope runs Pope Automotive. When he’s not busy at work, he and his wife, Michelle, like to travel. But he says, for years, that was an ordeal.

“We would go on a trip. I would have to stop every hour to go to the restroom.”

That’s typical of Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia, or BPH, a very common condition for men. As they get older, the prostate often gets larger and may press against the urinary tract. Ricky says, “With me, the medications didn’t work that well. And so, Dr. Vallabhan recommended this.”

‘This’ is a new procedure in which Dr. Girish Vallabhan was the first to bring to Lubbock at the Heart Hospital. It’s called Aquablation. Dr. Vallabhan says 50% of men over age 50 have an enlarged prostate and could benefit by this.

He explains, “It utilizes robotic technology to control a high pressure water jet. As it power washes through man’s prostate, it really cleans the inside of the prostate out, without heat.”

Aquablation combines real time ultrasound with a scope to map out the prostate and find exactly what needs to be removed…with the force of water. Dr. Vallabahn explains, “They use high pressure water jets to cut steel and do all sorts of cut concrete. This is size of a human hair. And as it sweeps through the prostate, it’s actually liquefying prosthetic tissue, and we irrigate that out. And because we’re looking at it by ultrasound, we can monitor exactly where the jet is.”

Traditionally, surgery has been used to trim away excess prostate tissue but most men don’t even like to go to the doctor much less ask for surgery of the prostate, which is linked to sexual function.

Dr. Vallabhan says, “Not saying that traditional surgery is bad but the advantage of this is really the retention of sexual function at a much, much higher level.”

Ricky says he’s glad he had the procedure.

“I was one of the first and it was very simple. I stayed overnight, one night in the hospital. Now, I can go to the restroom when I want to. I don’t have to find a bathroom every time I go somewhere. I’m back to like I was as a normal or like a teenager even. So it’s helped me a lot.”

The main side effects include soreness for a few days after the procedure and some bleeding that may last a few weeks.

The Lubbock Heart & Surgical Hospital was the first to provide this treatment in September of 2021. However, it recently became available at Covenant Medical Center.

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