Lasers in transurethral enucleation of the prostate— do we really need them

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Herrmann T. R. W., Gravas S., de la Rosette J. J. M. C. H., Wolters M., Anastasiadis A. G., Giannakis I.

Journal of Clinical Medicine, vol.9, no.5, 2020 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 9 Issue: 5
  • Publication Date: 2020
  • Doi Number: 10.3390/jcm9051412
  • Journal Name: Journal of Clinical Medicine
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus, Academic Search Premier, EMBASE, Directory of Open Access Journals
  • Keywords: HoLEP, ThuLEP, ThuVEP, GreenLEP, Vapoenucleation, AEEP, EEP, laser, Holmium, Thulium, diode, Greenlight, LBO
  • Istanbul Medipol University Affiliated: Yes


The acronym EEP, coding for transurethral Endoscopic Enucleation of the Prostate, was introduced in 2016 by the European Association of Urology (EAU) guidelines panel on management of non-neurogenic male lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS) and benign prostatic obstruction (BPO). Since then, a laser-based treatment, Holmium Laser Enucleation of the Prostate (HoLEP), and the current-based treatment of bipolar enucleation of the prostate (BipoLEP) are equally appreciated as valuable options for the management of benign prostatic obstruction (BPO). This was mainly inspired by the results of two meta-analyses on randomized controlled trials, comparing open prostatectomy with either Holmium Laser Enucleation of the Prostate (HoLEP) or bipolar enucleation of the prostate (BipoLEP). Prior to that, HoLEP was embraced as the only valid option for transurethral enucleation, although evidence for equivalence existed as early as 2006, but was not recognized due to a plethora of acronyms for bipolar energy-based treatments and practiced HoLEP-centrism. On the other hand, the academic discourse focused on different (other) laser approaches that came up, led by Thulium:Yttrium-Aluminum-Garnet (Tm:YAG) Vapoenucleation (ThuVEP) in 2009 and, finally, transurethral anatomical enucleation with Tm:YAG support (thulium laser enucleation of the prostate, ThuLEP) in 2010. Initially, the discourse on lasers focused on the different properties of lasers rather than technique or surgical anatomy, respectively. In and after 2016, the discussion ultimately moved towards surgical technique and accepting anatomical preparation as the common of all EEP techniques (AEEP). Since then, the unspoken question has been raised, whether lasers are still necessary to perform EEP in light of existing evidence, given the total cost of ownership (TCO) for these generators. This article weighs the current evidence and comes to the conclusion that no evidence of superiority of one modality over another exists with regard to any endpoint. Therefore, in the sense of critical importance, AEEP can be safely and effectively performed without laser technologies and without compromise.