What you can expect

You'll be given a local anesthetic to numb the prostate area. The anesthetic might be inserted through the tip of your penis, or given in a shot via your rectum or in the area between your scrotum and anus.

You might also have intravenous (IV) sedation. With IV sedation, you'll be drowsy but remain conscious during the procedure.

During the procedure

Your doctor will insert a catheter with a microwave antenna into your urethra. A thermometer is inserted into your rectum to check temperature. The antenna and thermometer have balloons attached that hold them in place. Your doctor might check the placement of the catheter and the rectal thermometer using an ultrasound machine.

During the procedure the microwave antenna causes just enough heat to destroy the prostate tissue blocking your urine flow, but not enough to damage other tissue. Water circulating around the tip and sides of the antenna protects the urethra from heat. But you might feel some heat and discomfort in the prostate and bladder areas.

Your doctor will ask about your pain level and adjust your treatment to make sure you're getting enough heat to improve your symptoms. You'll need to stay as still as possible during the microwave treatment. The length of treatment time varies depending on your doctor's preference and the type of microwave therapy machine used.

During treatment, you might have a strong desire to urinate and may feel bladder spasms — sensations that usually go away after the treatment is finished.

After the procedure

You'll likely have a urinary catheter in place because of swelling that blocks urine flow. You'll also likely take antibiotics to prevent a urinary tract infection.

You might notice:

  • Blood in your urine. This shouldn't last for more than a few days.
  • Irritating urinary symptoms. You might feel an urgent or frequent need to urinate, or you might have to get up more often during the night to urinate. Most men experience burning, especially at the tip of the penis and near the end of urination. These symptoms generally last about a week.
  • Difficulty holding urine. Incontinence can occur because your bladder is used to having to push urine through a urethra narrowed by enlarged prostate tissue. For most men, this issue improves with time.
  • Urinary tract infection. Urinary tract infections are a possible complication after any enlarged prostate procedure. The risk of infection increases the longer you have a catheter in place.
Oct. 27, 2016
  1. Cunningham GR, et al. Transurethral procedures for treating benign prostatic hyperplasia. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed July 17, 2016.
  2. Wein AJ, et al., eds. Minimally invasive and endoscopic management of benign prostatic hyperplasia. In: Campbell-Walsh Urology. 11th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Elsevier; 2016. http://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed July 17, 2016.
  3. Ebbing J, et al. Anesthesia-free procedures for benign prostate obstruction: worth it? Current Opinion in Urology. 2015;25:32.
  4. Hollingsworth JM, et al. Lower urinary tract symptoms in men. BMJ. 2014;349:g4474.
  5. Barbara Woodward Lips Patient Education Center. Care following transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP). Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2012.

Transurethral microwave therapy (TUMT)