Transurethral Needle Ablation (TUNA)
Transurethral Needle Ablation, or TUNA is an effective, minimally invasive treatment for the symptoms of BPH – Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia. This is also the technical and generic term for Prostiva® RF Therapy. Because of the safety and effectiveness of TUNA, many patients and urologists opt for an RF treatment rather than chronic medication, which can cause significant side effects.1 TUNA is covered by Medicare as well as most private insurance plans.
How does TUNA work?
TUNA is performed in the urologist’s office and often takes no more than 30 minutes. The urologist will pass a small tube through the urethra to the prostate. It will be positioned precisely where excess prostatic tissue needs to be removed. Two electrodes contained within the device are deployed and begin emitting RF or radiofrequency energy in a targeted area of the prostate. The RF energy destroys the prostatic tissue using high heat while sparing healthy tissue in the surrounding area. The urologist will continue the process until all obstructed areas have been treated. The procedure is performed under local anesthetic to minimize discomfort.2
Recovery after TUNA
Recovery times after a transurethral needle ablation will vary based on the patient, however most can expect to return to normal activities within a few days after the procedure. During that time, in order to allow the prostate, urethra and urinary system to heal, patients will be catheterized. 2 This catheter will be removed as soon as safely possible.
The prostate will heal over time and the urinary obstruction will be reduced. The benefits of a TUNA treatment will usually be obvious within eight to ten weeks, at which point the symptoms of BPH should start to improve.2 During this time, the patient should see a steady improvement in symptoms.
Risks, Side Effects and Considerations
TUNA is a safe and effective treatment for BPH with a relatively low rate of side effects.2 There are some risks and considerations that should be discussed with your urologist including: obstruction, bleeding or blood in urine, pain, increased urinary urgency or frequency and urinary tract infections.2
Speak to your urologist about the options available to you in your particular circumstance. You may also visit our Prostiva® RF Therapy web page to learn more about the procedure and how it can benefit you by improving the symptoms of BPH.
1Data derived from Flomax product labeling IT8004IH1309 www.fda.gov
2Data derived from Prostiva® RF System Manual 250369-001 Rev B 12/12