Showing off the new Greenlight Laser urology machine St Vincent's Hospital in Lismore.
Showing off the new Greenlight Laser urology machine St Vincent's Hospital in Lismore. The Northern Star

Surgery coup for men

PATIENTS from the North Coast needing treatment for prostate problems will now have access to the latest high-tech equipment and a second urologist for the region.

St Vincent's Private Hospital in Lismore is trialling the GreenLight Laser MKII, a machine that allows for an "almost bloodless" procedure and reduces the time men need to stay in hospital from three or four days down to about 24 hours.

Until now the machine was available only in Sydney and Melbourne.

Asked why one had been brought to Lismore, new urologist Dr Charles Chabert said: “Why not Lismore? Men in this region shouldn't be disadvantaged.”

Dr Chabert only arrived on the North Coast six weeks ago.

Prior to that, Dr David Kerle had been the only urologist for the entire region.

Dr Chabert, who has moved up from Sydney, is a specialist in keyhole surgery for prostate problems and has been investigating non- invasive methods of surgery.

The new laser technology works by passing a laser fibre, 1.8 mm in diameter, down the eye of the penis. It can then be guided incredibly accurately to the prostate gland.

The urologist watches everything in real time on a screen and heats the laser to temperatures of more than 100 degrees Celsius, which vaporises the oblate tissue.

This creates a larger opening, allowing for the easier passage of urine from the bladder.

Dr Chabert said the likelihood of a regrowth was only 10 per cent over 10 years.

“This brings Lismore up with the tertiary centres in most of the major metropolitan centres and is fabulous for the community up here,” he said.

Dr Kerle estimated about 200 men underwent the old TURP (transurethral resection of the prostrate) treatment at St Vincent's last year.

The new laser technology had only been operating since Monday and already four men had taken advantage of it, he said.

The machine is valued about $200,000 and the single-use laser fibres cost $1100 each.



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