Purpose: We evaluated the safety, efficacy, failure and complications of 2 techniques of laser prostatectomy for benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH): transurethral evaporation of the prostate (evaporation) versus visual laser ablation of the prostate (coagulation) in a randomized trial. Materials and Methods: A total of 64 consecutive patients with symptomatic BPH was randomized to undergo evaporation (32) or coagulation (32). American Urological Association symptom score, peak urinary flow rate and post-void residual urine volume were measured at baseline, and at 1, 3, 6 and 12 months. Other parameters evaluated included prostate volume by transrectal ultrasound, total laser energy per patient and per cc volume of the prostate, number of laser fibers per prostate, duration of catheterization and hospitalization, need for re-catheterization, and failure and complication rates. Results: Our main findings were that patients undergoing laser prostatectomy using the coagulation technique (visual laser ablation of the prostate) had higher reoperation rates (16 percent versus 0 percent, p = 0.0199) and were 4 times more likely to have prolonged postoperative urinary retention (25 percent versus 6.3 percent, p = 0.0389), evaporation and coagulation were effective at relieving symptoms of prostatism with significant improvement in American Urological Association symptom scores and post-void residual urine volumes compared to baseline, improvement in peak flow rates was significantly greater in patients undergoing evaporation at 1, 3, 6 and 12 months (p less than 0.001) compared to coagulation, and a significantly greater amount of laser energy was required to evaporate a unit volume of prostate tissue compared to coagulation (2,251 J./cc versus 1,036 J./cc, p less than 0.03). Conclusions: Between the 2 major techniques of laser prostatectomy, transurethral evaporation is associated with better results at up to 12 months of followup.
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