Greater Boston Urology Blog

What is Aquablation Therapy for BPH?

Dr. Steven Craig Gillard in our Plymouth Care Center uses Aquablation therapy to treat patients dealing with benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). 

Below, we discuss BPH and Aquablation therapy. As always, this information is intended to be educational in nature, not medical advice. Discuss your specific health needs with a medical professional, like a urologist. 

What is benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH)?

Benign prostatic hyperplasia, or BPH, is a condition in which the prostate enlarges. As it enlarges, it can press on and block the urethra.

This can cause bothersome urinary symptoms, such as the following:

  • Frequent need to urinate both day and night
  • Weak or slow urinary stream
  • A sense that you cannot completely empty your bladder
  • Difficulty or delay in starting urination
  • Urgent feeling of needing to urinate
  • A urinary stream that stops and starts

Multiple treatment options exist, including medication, stents, and surgery. Talk over your options with your urologist. Below, we'll answer questions regarding an option called Aquablation therapy.

What is Aquablation® therapy?

Developed by PROCEPT BioRobotics, Aquablation therapy is a minimally invasive, heat-free surgical technique to treat lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS) due to BPH.

How does Aquablation therapy work?

Aquablation therapy combines multi-dimensional imaging and robotics (the AquaBeam Robotic System) to deliver a heat-free waterjet to remove the enlarged prostate tissue. The big benefit? Less risk of sexual side effects (such as ED) than the surgical gold-standard transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP).[1]

Check out this video to see how it works.


What happens during Aquablation therapy?

Your urologist will perform the Aquablation therapy in an operating room. You'll be under spinal or general anesthesia. During the procedure, the urologist will create a treatment plan that is personalized to your specific anatomy. Your urologist will use the AquaBeam Robotic System to remove the excess prostate tissue with a heat-free waterjet. The heat-free component is important since this helps eliminate the possibility of complications arising from thermal injury. The procedure takes less than an hour, and typically involves an overnight stay.

You will likely go home with a catheter. For a few days, you might experience burning when you pee and some soreness in the rectal area. You can manage this with mild pain meds, like Tylenol or Motrin. Your doctor will discuss a timeline for resuming normal activities.

Who's a good candidate for Aquablation therapy?

If you're suffering from urinary symptoms due to an enlarged prostate, you could be a good candidate for Aquablation therapy, which has been proven safe and effective for treating BPH. Talk to your urologist.

Check out one patient's experience with Aquablation below:


Does health insurance cover Aquablation therapy?

According to the Aquablation website: "Several of the major national private insurance companies have issued positive coverage policies for their patients. For all other private insurance companies, coverage can be assessed on an individual basis, and you should speak with your provider directly to determine if Aquablation therapy is available for you. Medicare announced positive coverage decisions to provide access to Medicare beneficiaries nationally.”

Is Aquablation therapy available through Greater Boston Urology?

Yes! Dr. Stephen Craig Gillard from our Plymouth Care Center is trained to use this therapy. If you're seeing another urologist within our group, but you're interested in Aquablation, Dr. Gillard can perform the therapy. You'd then return to your GBU urologist.

This is one of the many benefits of choosing an integrated urology practice like ours. As a GBU patient, you can take advantage of the combined skills and expertise within the group without having to change urologists.

Interested in Aquablation therapy for BPH?

If you're new to GBU, make an appointment with Dr. Gillard in Plymouth. Otherwise, reach out to your current GBU physician to learn more.

For those patients, vaginal estrogen replacement is key to restoring vaginal health and preventing bladder infections. Patients may also take cranberry supplements and/or D-mannose (both OTC) to help prevent UTIs.

[1] Gilling PJ et al. Five-year outcomes for Aquablation therapy compared to TURP: results from a double-blind, randomized trial in men with LUTS due to BPH. Can J Urol. 2022 Feb;29(1):10960-10968.

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