Early Treatment Methods

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Early Treatment Methods

By the late 1800s, physicians had found a link between prostate size and a man’s age, as well as between prostate growth and testosterone.

This discovery set the foundation for developing various treatment methods in order to relieve the uncomfortable symptoms caused by an enlarged prostate.

Though it wasn’t until centuries later that the more effective treatments that we use today, such as transurethral resection of the prostate, medications, and prostate artery embolization, became available- These procedures owe a debt of gratitude to the many physicians that came before, who opened the path to finding the best treatment for what would later be known as benign prostate hyperplasia.

Unfortunately part of this journey involved making mistakes along the way.

One notable example is a procedure performed by some physicians in the 1800s who thought that the condition of an enlarged prostate could be cured by removing the testicles. Yikes.

Fortunately, this method fell out of practice shortly thereafter. And, fortunately, many other physicians did not use this technique, and instead, continued to study the enlarged prostate and the impact that it can have on a man’s health. All in an attempt to find the most effective and efficient way to treat the condition.

One of the turning points in the development of prostate procedures to treat an enlarged prostate, took place in 1891.

A physician in Arizona had found a way to treat the prostate condition by removing prostate tissue through an incision made in the perineum—the area between the scrotum and rectum. This would later be called a perineal prostatectomy.

Following this breakthrough procedure, all sorts of other prostate surgeries began to pop up.

Eugene Fuller, a New York City Physician, developed the  “suprapubic procedure.”

The suprapubic procedure is the surgical removal of the prostate through an incision made in the lower abdomen and bladder.

The suprapubic procedure showed promising results and opened the door for another physician, Hampton Young to get even better results by using the same perineal incision to remove the prostatic mass.

Dr. Young, a urologist at Johns Hopkins Hospital also discovered that if he pushed the gland upward from the rectum, it could ease and complete the excision, making the removal more complete.

Hampton Young went on to become known as the “Father of American Urology,” and continued to refine and perfect his technique for treating an enlarged prostate.

In our next article, we will continue looking at the history of treating benign prostate hyperplasia, by diving deeper into the impact that Dr. Hampton Young had on the treatment of it, as well as take a look at the advancements made by the many physicians that followed.

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