Greenlight laser procedure for enlarged prostate

The Greenlight laser procedure is used to treat enlarged prostates and is suitable for men who are experiencing urinary problems because of prostate disease. This procedure works by vaporising away prostate tissue to widen the urethra.

The length of time the procedure takes depends on the size of the prostate; typically it can take between 15 minutes and an hour. Patients tend to be admitted as a day-case, but some patients may stay one night in hospital. The procedure can be performed under both general and local anaesthetic. The surgeon and anaesthetist will discuss the most suitable anaesthesia for the patient.

The procedure involves inserting a telescope down the urethra to the prostate. A high powered laser is then used to vaporise prostate tissue in order to widen the channel through the prostate gland relieving obstruction to the flow of urine from the bladder.


Patients are normally able to leave the hospital within a few hours of the operation and can return to normal activity as soon as they feel confident to do so, but it is best to avoid any exertion, heavy lifting, straining and sexual activity for a week or so after the operation. A standard urinary catheter or drainage tube is usually placed down the urethra into the bladder at the end of the procedure. This may be removed either later the same day or the morning after.

Patients should experience positive changes to their urinary stream soon after the procedure, and then improvement in other symptoms such as getting up in the night, inability to hold and going frequently over the following days, weeks and months.

The day or two following the procedure there may be some discomfort or burning when passing urine, which may continue at a low level for a while longer usually settling three weeks or so later. Additionally, it is normal to see some blood in the urine over the first few weeks following the procedure. Some patients may get a urine infection which can slow the recovery. All medical procedures carry an element of risk and the consultant will discuss this in detail with the patient.

For further information, please contact us on 020 8335 4646 or complete the form on the right-hand side of this page.

Meet the consultant: Mr Pieter Le Roux 

Consultant surgeon Mr Pieter Le Roux, who introduced this procedure at Epsom and St Helier NHS trust and also performs the Greenlight operation at Spire St Anthony’s Hospital has been very pleased with the results. "An audit of our initial series of 25 cases has been very encouraging. The vast majority of patients went home on the first postoperative day without a catheter. Patient satisfaction levels are high and we have seen only very minimal side effects. Conventional TURP is associated with more bleeding, a higher incidence of complications and a longer hospital stay of three or four days."

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