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Laser therapy option to avoid surgery

Sudip Banerjee (name changed on request), a retired bank official, was recently diagnosed with enlarged prostate. Surgery would have kept the 62-year-old in bed for more than a week. But he was out of hospital in a couple of days, thanks to a modern laser therapy.

Thulium laser, recently installed in some city hospitals, is being used to treat a variety of problems, from tonsillitis to enlarged prostate.

Thulium targets only affected tissues, making the treatment safer than the therapy with older types of laser, like Holmium. Side-effects of Thulium therapy are also less severe.

“Earlier, lasers had deeper penetrations and hence, affected more tissues than were necessary,” said Thorsten Bach, an urologist from Hamburg in Germany. He was in the city to take part in a workshop at Calcutta Medical Research Institute (CMRI).

Wockhardt, AMRI and Woodlands are the other hospitals offering Thulium laser therapy in the city.

Treatment of enlarged prostate with lasers used to damage the bowels. “The new laser has penetration of 200 micrometre (one millionth of a metre). It is effective for ENT and neurological problems,” added Bach.

Since Thulium therapy does not involve surgery, there is no loss of blood, pointed out city-based urologist Bibhas R. Kundu.

Thulium laser cannot, however, be used on malignant growths.

Shivaji Basu of Wockhardt said half the prostate problems in the hospital were being treated with laser. “The number will go up as Thulium therapy becomes more affordable,” he predicted.

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