UroLift Review: The Best BPH Treatment?

UroLift Review: The Best BPH Treatment?


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Disclaimer: None of the information in this article constitutes medical advice, and is just the opinion of the writer(s). We recommend that patients follow their doctor’s guidance in regard to BPH treatment.

The UroLift is a surgical procedure that’s cleared by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for treatment of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), which is the medical term for an enlarged prostate. The company behind UroLift claims that the procedure provides “rapid relief and recovery,” and that it can preserve sexual function better than prescription medications for BPH.

But is UroLift actually proven to work in medical studies? Does the procedure cause any concerning side effects? How does UroLift work? And how do real patients describe the procedure and its benefits and downsides?

In this article we'll answer all of these questions and more, as we review clinical trials on UroLift to determine if it's effective or not for treating BPH.

We'll discuss the risk of side effects, explain how the procedure works and feature unsponsored UroLift patient reviews.

How Does UroLift Work?

The UroLift procedure uses implants to create more space in the urethra.

When patients have an enlarged prostate, their urethra can become partially or fully blocked, leading to difficulty urinating and a constant feeling of urgency to urinate, according to the Cleveland Clinic. 

While an enlarged prostate typically isn’t a life-threatening condition, it can seriously impact quality of life because the symptoms can be nearly constant.

The UroLift device is inserted into the urethra and then implants are placed which hold the enlarged prostate tissue out of the way of urethral flow, similar to how stents are used in patients with cardiovascular disease to clear space in a blocked artery.

When urethral flow is normalized, patients experience fewer uncomfortable symptoms like frequent need to urinate which are caused by enlarged prostate interference.

The animated video below from UroLift's official YouTube channel is only one minute long and provides a visual explanation of how the device works:

Does UroLift Reduce BPH Symptoms?

UroLift has been studied in clinical trials in patients with BPH.

A medical review published in the Expert Review of Medical Devices journal analyzed the effectiveness of the UroLift based on multiple clinical trials.

The researchers found that UroLift was effective in decreasing BPH symptoms like frequent urination, but only in patients with small or medium sized prostates, and who didn’t have median lobe enlargement.

The researchers noted that UroLift helped to preserve sexual function.

Patients who received UroLift surgery experienced no negative effects on sexual function.

Since pharmaceutical treatments for BPH often have sexual side effects, this suggests that UroLift may be a better option than pharmaceutical treatments for BPH for patients who are sexually active.

A more recent medical review reached similar conclusions: UroLift was effective on average for improving symptoms caused by an enlarged prostate and for stabilizing sexual function.

The study authors in the above-linked review reported that the UroLift device was durable, with no visible signs of corrosion or damage after 15 months. They also noted that UroLift appears safer than prostatic stents because the risk of side effects is much lower.

This study authors stated that UroLift is “the only BPH procedure that has not been associated with new onset sustained erectile or ejaculatory dysfunction.”

We will conclude that UroLift is effective for treating symptoms of BPH, which is unsurprising given that the device is cleared by the FDA.

Real People Try UroLift

A YouTube creator named Frank McGowan shared his experience getting UroLift after two years, and discusses his recovery timeline:

A TikTok creator named Clif Martin shared his experience with UroLift:

@13_pisces_clif_13 #UROLIFT ♬ original sound - Clif Martin

Does UroLift Cause Side Effects?

While UroLift appears relatively safe, it does have a risk of side effects, which shouldn’t be surprising given that it’s a surgical procedure.

A medical review published in the Urology journal found that the most common side effects were pelvic pain and discomfort or burning with urination.

The percentage of patients experiencing those side effects was not reported. No major complications were noted.

A 2015 meta-study on UroLift described the treatment as “minimally invasive” and noted “no relevant side effects.”

A clinical trial cited in the above-linked meta-study noted that the UroLift device had a 0.004% breakage rate which is quite low. This equates to only 28 out of 780,000 patients.

A 2023 medical review documented more serious, although rare, side effects, including 11 deaths, stroke and urosepsis.

UroLift appears to be safer than other surgical procedures for BPH, but isn't without risk.

How Much Does UroLift Cost?

The cost of UroLift will vary substantially for patients in the US based on health insurance coverage.

A medical review on urinary treatments documented the cost of the UroLift surgery at over $6,000. This made it the most expensive treatment examined.

UroLift was reported to cost $3,500 more than Rezum, which is another popular BPH treatment option.

UroLift has a useful insurance codes resource page on their website with information that prospective patients should check out.

The above-linked resource provides the insurance codes used for the UroLift procedure, so that patients can check with their doctor and health insurer if the treatment will be covered.

We recommend that patients confirm with their health insurance provider (ideally in writing) that UroLift is covered, because the out-of-pocket cost is relatively high.

Is BPH Caused By Vitamin D Deficiency?

A medical study published in the Canadian Journal of Urology found a strong association between vitamin D deficiency and BPH.

The researchers found that supplementation of vitamin D analogues up to 6,000 International Units (IU) per day decreased prostate volume in patients with BPH.

This suggests that patients with BPH should get a vitamin D blood test done.

If levels are low, it may be worthwhile to speak with a doctor about supplementing with vitamin D3 or vitamin D analogues before considering surgery.

meta-study published in the Clinical Nutrition journal confirmed these findings and had an even more direct conclusion:

"Increasing vitamin D intake from the diet or supplements reduces the prevalence of BPH. Vitamin D binds to specific receptors in the prostate and bladder, and reduces inflammation and prostate growth."

Many individuals at northern latitudes are chronically deficient in vitamin D, because it's impossible to synthesize vitamin D from the sun during winter months depending on latitude.

Momentous Vitamin D3 is our top vitamin D3 supplement because it's highly affordable (under $13 at a subscription rate at the time of updating this article), and free of any unhealthy additive ingredients.

This supplement provides 5,000 IU of vitamin D3 per serving.

Are There Active UroLift Lawsuits?

Patients are often curious about whether there are lawsuits regarding a medical procedure they're considering, because lawsuits can contain useful information about complaints and horror stories that might not be accessible on the brand's website.

In the case of UroLift, there do not appear to be any active lawsuits at the time of updating this article, and we cannot even locate any historical lawsuits related to the procedure.

This further suggests that this treatment is relatively safe, given that UroLift has been on the market for over a decade (it was initially cleared in 2013).

UroLift Pros and Cons

Here are the pros and cons of UroLift in our opinion:

Pros:

  • May be safer than other BPH treatments
  • Can improve patient quality-of-life
  • Clinically shown to be effective
  • Doesn't cause sexual side effects
  • Cleared by FDA
  • No active lawsuits

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • May cause severe side effects in rare cases
Stay up-to-date on our research reviews

Conclusion

UroLift is effective for improving quality of life and reducing symptoms of BPH like frequent need to urinate which are caused by an enlarged prostate.

The device works by using implants to create more space in the urethra, and it has a favorable side effect profile compared to other BPH treatments.

Notably, UroLift doesn't appear to cause sexual side effects, while some pharmacological treatments for BPH do.

This procedure can cause rare side effects, including death, according to a recent medical review cited in this article.

UroLift is expensive, especially for patients without health insurance, and appears to be the most expensive option for BPH treatment in the US.

Patients diagnosed with BPH may benefit from getting their vitamin D levels checked and speaking with their doctor about supplementing if their levels are deficient, because vitamin D deficiency is associated with worse BPH outcomes in clinical studies.