Skip to Content
Home > Wellness > Health Library > Enlarged Prostate: Transurethral Needle Ablation
Transurethral needle ablation (TUNA) is used to treat an
enlarged prostate gland (benign prostatic hyperplasia, or BPH)
with a needle-shaped device that delivers heat to very precise areas of the
prostate. The device is inserted up the
urethra inside a tube (catheter) that protects other
tissues from being burned. The heat destroys specific areas that are blocking
the flow of urine out of the bladder. This relieves BPH symptoms. The procedure
does not require an overnight stay in the hospital.
A year after TUNA surgery, symptoms can be about 13 points lower on the American Urological Association (AUA) symptom index. For most men, that means a 60% reduction in symptoms. For example, if your symptom score is 25 (severe), it could be reduced to about 10 (moderate). With transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP), symptoms can be reduced by about 85% in most men.1 But TUNA is less likely than TURP to cause complications.
has minimal complications. The two most common are an inability to urinate
(urinary retention) in the first 24 hours after surgery and pain while
urinating. Sexual ability is generally not affected.2
The main advantages of this treatment
The main disadvantages of this treatment are:
Reports have warned that in a small number of cases TUNA has caused serious injuries and complications,
including damage to the penis and urethra. Injuries have required urostomies, partial amputation of the penis, and
other procedures. In December 2000, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a warning about these
Fitzpatrick JM (2012). Minimally invasive and endoscopic management of benign prostatic hyperplasia. In AJ Wein et al., eds., Campbell-Walsh Urology, 10th ed., vol. 3, pp. 2655–2694. Philadelphia: Saunders.
AUA Practice Guidelines Committee (2010). AUA guideline on management of benign prostatic hyperplasia. Chapter 1: Guideline on the management of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). Available online: http://www.auanet.org/content/guidelines-and-quality-care/clinical-guidelines.cfm?sub=bph.
Lourenco T, et al. (2008). Minimally invasive treatments for benign prostatic enlargement: Systematic review of randomised controlled trials. BMJ, 337(7676): a1662–a1669.
Current as of:
June 4, 2014
E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & J. Curtis Nickel, MD, FRCSC - Urology
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.
To learn more, visit Healthwise.org
© 1995-2014 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
Our interactive Decision Points guide you through making key health decisions by combining medical information with your personal information.
You'll find Decision Points to help you answer questions about:
Get started learning more about your health!
Our Interactive Tools can help you make smart decisions for a healthier life. You'll find personal calculators and tools for health and fitness, lifestyle checkups, and pregnancy.
Feeling under the weather?
Use our interactive symptom checker to evaluate your symptoms and determine appropriate action or treatment.