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Director of emergency and surgical services Brian Hail holds up the new GreenLight laser system for Photoselective Vaporization of the Prostate used to treat prostate cancer.

TAHLEQUAH — A green laser is healing men.

Debra Pease said her 68-year-old father, Ted Stewart of Fort Gibson, has seen dramatic benefits from the new procedure.

Tahlequah City Hospital (TCH) announced that it is the first site in Northeast Oklahoma to perform a new treatment for enlarged prostate called the GreenLight laser system for Photoselective Vaporization of the Prostate (PVP).

Pease, 47, an accountant in the Union school system, said she and her parents are surprised by how well the treatment went.

“He had a lot of back pain before the procedure; that’s all gone,” she said. “Dad has no complaints at all. He was experiencing the benefits in about three to four days. It’s a miracle.”

Enlarged prostate affects more than 14 million men each year in the United States. More than half of all men older than 60 develop an enlarged prostate. By age 80, nearly 80 percent of men have this condition, known as Benign Prosthetic Hyperplasia (BPH). Symptoms include difficulty in urinating, reduced urine stream, straining to urinate, frequency of urination (especially at night), and an urgent need to urinate accompanied by a feeling that the bladder never completely empties.

Pease said she hopes more men will get checked for prostate health and ask their doctors about different treatment options.

“Men are such babies when it comes to getting checked,” she said. “If they knew what women go through at the doctor’s office. Maybe this will help men.”

The entire family liked Dr. Francisco Bravo, who performed the laser procedure at TCH. Pease described him as “a wonderful doctor.”

Bravo said in an media release that he learned to use the GreenLight laser after hearing of its success elsewhere.

“The clinical trial results are stunningly convincing, almost too good to believe,” Bravo said. “I pursued training in this procedure so that I could bring this advanced treatment to my patients here in Tahlequah.”

The PVP procedure using the GreenLight laser system was the subject of clinical studies conducted during a five-year period at leading medical institutions. Treatment with the device is an option for men who suffer urinary problems such as frequent and painful urination and a weak urine stream resulting from an enlarged prostate.

Previously, treatment options included medication, a variety of heat treatments or an invasive surgical procedure. These treatments can involve compromise in outcomes and side effects. Medical therapy is costly, not covered by insurance and requires daily dosing for life. Thermal therapies can provide some relief, but at first, patients experience several weeks of irritative symptoms. Additionally, outcomes of these treatments are not as good as the traditional surgical transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP). TURP can provide significant relief but is accompanied by side effects such as impotence, incontinence and blood loss, and a four- to six-week recovery period.

With PVP using GreenLight laser, patients are commonly released within a couple of hours, many without a catheter, and can return to normal non-strenuous activities within the week.

Business Development Director Jim Berry said TCH has had the device approximately 60 days and treated at least two dozen patients so far. The laser cost less than $100,000, but purchasing expensive medical equipment takes some planning.

“We do have limited resources so we always try to look at the demand,” he said. “We look at the number of people who are affected by a particular disease process.”

Reach Keith Purtell at 684-2925 or kpurtell@muskogeephoenix.com.

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