Advances in Prostate Care

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Advances in Prostate Care

In the early 20th century, located right here in our neck of the woods, a young doctor was developing a prostate procedure that would revolutionize the way prostate conditions are treated and open the door to the many other treatments that would follow.

This man was urologist Dr. Hugh Hampton Young, who due to his position as the chief of surgery in the Genitourinary Surgery Division at Johns Hopkins Hospital became known as the “Father of American Urology.”

Among his many contributions to male prostate health, Dr. Young is best known for his development and perfection of radical perineal prostatectomy, while working at The Johns Hopkins Hospital in 1904.

This procedure, which to this day, remains the oldest continuously employed treatment for prostate cancer, was developed at a critical time when previous open prostatectomy surgeries had a 20-percent mortality rate.

Fortunately, by perfecting the perineal approach and developing specialized instruments for the procedure, Dr. Young was able to reduce the mortality rate to 2 percent.

During his many years working at Johns Hopkins, Dr. Hampton Young developed a number of innovative instruments and techniques.

The first known instrument he created was known as the “punch,” which was used for the resection of an obstructing bladder neck, and prostatic tissue.

This then led to the development of numerous other punches, particularly at the Mayo Clinic where several of his students perfected the instrument.

In 1912, Dr. Young, using this instrument, successfully relieved railroad entrepreneur James Buchanan Brady’s prostate condition brought on by an obstructing bladder neck, and prostate tissue.

Upon doing so, Brady went on to fund the construction and creation of the Brady Urological Institute.

While there, Dr. Young went on to do much more, including establishing a new design for a urological operating table and developing a detailed approach to performing radical perineal prostatectomy which became the standard for prostate cancer surgery.

Dr. Young went on to found The Journal of Urology which he edited until his death in 1945. However, one of his biggest contributions was the creation of a detailed plan for the training of young urologists, which went on to become the model for all other training programs in the United States.

In our next article, we will continue our series on the history of treating benign prostate hyperplasia, by looking at some of the early surgeries, some of which are still performed today.

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