To investigate the possibility of re-using laser fibres for the visual laser ablation of the prostate (VLAP).Patients and methods
Thirty-four patients, each with a mean maximum urinary flow rate of < 14.0 mL/s and an American Urological Association symptom score of > 19, were evaluated. All underwent VLAP; laser energy, generated by a Neodymium:YAG system, was delivered with a side-firing fibre. The laser generator was fitted with a custom-built power meter that measured the energy delivered by the fibre. Fibres were re-used until the energy output fell below 60 W despite increases in laser generator power. Each patient was followed for at least 12 months.Results
A total of seven fibres was used to treat the 34 patients; between one and nine patients were treated with each fibre. The outcome obtained with the first use of a fibre compared well with those obtained with each subsequent use. After 12 months, 25 patients (74%) expressed satisfaction with the results of their operation. Five patients (15%) had urinary tract infections. As each fibre costs about £650, multiple use saved a mean of £516 for each patient treated.Conclusion
This evaluation implies that there is no justification for the single use of laser fibres on the basis of efficacy, provided that a power meter is used to monitor the efficiency of the delivery device.