Valley Baptist Medical Center-Harlingen is the first and only hospital in the Rio Grande Valley to offer Aquablation, a new therapy using waterjet ablation to treat lower urinary tract symptoms due to benign prostate hyperplasia (BPH).

BPH, or an enlarged prostate, is a non-cancerous condition where the prostate has grown larger than normal. According to recent studies, nearly half of men between the ages 51 to 60 have BPH, and the incidence increases every decade of life. If left untreated, BPH can cause significant health problems in some men, including irreversible bladder or kidney damage, bladder stones, and incontinence.

Surgical treatments for BPH may require men to consider trade-offs between symptom relief and side effects, according to Dr. Danilo Asase, a urologist on the medical staff at Valley Baptist-Harlingen.

“Aquablation therapy is a different type of treatment for BPH,” Asase said. “It’s an advanced, minimally invasive treatment that uses the power of water delivered with robotic precision to provide long-lasting symptom relief with low rates of irreversible complications, regardless of prostate size or shape.”

With June recently serving as National Men’s Health Awareness Month, there’s no time like the present to shed light on the new, advanced treatment for a condition that impacts so many men throughout the Rio Grande Valley.

“We are proud to be the first healthcare facility in the Valley to offer a solution for men with BPH that can provide relief without compromise,” said Jennifer Bartnesky-Smith, interim chief operating officer for Valley Baptist-Harlingen and chief strategy officer for Valley Baptist Health System. “It is exciting to bring this new, minimally invasive surgical technique to our community to improve not the quality of care we provide, but the quality of life for so many men in our region.”

The AquaBeam Robotic System performs aquablation therapy, the first FDA-cleared surgical robot utilizing automated tissue resection or the treatment of lower urinary tract symptoms due to BPH. It combines real-time, multi-dimensional imaging, automated robotic technology, and heat-free waterjet ablation technology for targeted, controlled, and immediate removal of prostate tissue.

Aquablation therapy uses optics and ultrasound imaging, allowing the surgeon to map which parts of the prostate to remove and which parts to avoid that may cause complications like erectile dysfunction, ejaculatory dysfunction, and incontinence. The imaging system allows surgeons to develop individualized procedural planning, which can adjust for angle, length, contour, and depth of penetration of the high-pressure water beam.

“Clinical studies of the therapy indicate it has been shown to provide symptom relief with low rates of complications, and with predictable outcomes,” said Asase. “This is quite literally a game-changing treatment for men who have until now chosen to suffer from the symptoms of BPH rather than risk the side effects of previously available treatments.”

Matt Lynch