Transurethral microwave thermotherapy, or TUMT, is a treatment for an enlarged prostate gland, also known as benign prostate hyperplasia, or BPH. The prostate gland is part of a man’s reproductive system. It is a walnut shaped organ located between the base of the bladder and the beginning of the penis. It surrounds the upper part of the urethra where it produces a fluid that is ejaculated with sperm.

An enlarged prostate gland is usually a harmless but annoying condition that causes men to have to urinate more often than normal. In severe cases, BPH can completely block the ability to pass urine. Transurethral microwave therapy is an option for men whose symptoms have not responded to previous treatment. The TUMT procedure uses microwaves to heat the prostate to destructive levels.

The TUMT Procedure

The surgeon utilizes a special catheter, called an antenna, that is inserted through the urethra to a location inside the prostate. Microwave energy is then used to heat the inside of the prostate while cooling fluid is circulated around the microwave antenna to prevent heat from damaging the wall of the urethra. As the damaged prostate tissue heals, it shrinks significantly, reducing the blockage of urine flow. This treatment is done in a single session and usually does not require an overnight stay in the hospital. A general anesthetic is needed during the procedure.

Risks Of The TUMT Procedure

One of the main complications of transurethral microwave therapy is the inability to urinate, or urinary retention, for more than a week. While not as common, other risks may include:

  • Erection problems
  • Persistent irritation of the urethra
  • Blood in the urine

During the procedure there is also a risk of damage to the penis or urethra.

Recovery From The TUMT Procedure

Patients are generally able to go home after surgery but may not be able to urinate and require catheterization to drain the bladder. For most men, this lasts for a week or less. They may also have to take antibiotics or anti-inflammatory medicine. Patients can usually return to work one to two days after treatment. Sexual activity can normally be resumed about two weeks after surgery. Most men find relief from the symptoms of BPH after TUMT treatment.