Inventions to Treat BPH

Inventions to Treat BPH 645d51e1d81e9.png

Inventions to Treat BPH

It is estimated that at some point in their lives, 8 out of 10 men will experience the uncomfortable symptoms caused by an enlarged prostate. However, this occurrence isn’t anything new.

Doctors have been working to find cures and develop treatments for this very common condition for centuries.

In fact, in our last few articles, we took a deeper look at the origin of the diagnosis of an enlarged prostate, and when it was first documented. And, we looked at some of the many attempts to treat or even cure the condition- Some of which actually made things worse.

Fortunately, as time went on, and medical advancements continued to be made, medical experts and physicians were able to find newer and better ways to treat men with this prostate condition.

A real turning point in the development of treatment procedures for an enlarged prostate, occurred in 1904 when Dr. Hampton Young perfected the surgical procedure known as a “radical perineal prostatectomy”.

By perfecting the perineal approach and developing specialized instruments for the procedure, Dr. Young was able to lower the mortality rate for those undergoing prostate surgery.

While open surgeries for treating an enlarged prostate continued to develop, another method was emerging called the transurethral method.

The transurethral method is a treatment based on the idea of increasing the lumen of the prostatic urethra by destroying or damaging the prostatic tissue so that it would contract.

Several instruments for transurethral removal of bladder neck obstruction by ‘valves’, were created, however, the procedure was done blindly, and though effective at times, it also came with the high risk of hemorrhage, and many patients were left with urinary incontinence.

Fortunately, physicians continued to develop better and better techniques for transurethral procedures, including using a wire loop cautery. As well as treatments that included a thermogalvanic destruction, which is when cautery is introduced through the urethra, requiring a cautery plate and a cautery knife.

However, one of the biggest issues with these methods was that,  just like with the previous procedures, all of them were done blindly. That is until various new instruments were invented and came into use, such as the irrigating cystoscope, which allowed for visual control during these procedures.

The irrigating cystoscope was a real game changer, even more so, as Dr. Young worked to modify it, making it better and bed.

Young is credited with adding illumination to the external end of the tube, by way of a small electric bulb. And then, just a few years later, Young replaced the cutting tube with an electrically heated cautery tube and made the outer tube double-walled so that water could circulate to cool it. Young’s basic design was the forerunner of a great variety of subsequent operations.

In our last article of this series on the history of diagnosing and treating an enlarged prostate, we will take a look at some of the procedures that emerged after Dr. Young’s irrigating cystoscope, and begin to explore the modifications and improvements that have been made to these techniques.


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