A procedure called aquablation offers a new approach to treating an enlarged prostate.

In the photo above, Dr. Gopal Badlani uses a robot-guided water jet to treat enlarged prostate.

The medical term is “benign prostatic hyperplasia,” or BPH. Most men know it simply as “enlarged prostate,” and hope to avoid it as they grow older.

More than 12 million American men, most of them 60 or older, are being treated for non-cancerous enlargement of the prostate gland. Symptoms include a frequent need to urinate, increased nighttime urination and an inability to completely empty the bladder.

For more severe cases, pills might not give much relief. Surgery can help symptoms but can also cause sexual problems. So, many men simply avoid treatment.

Relief in sight for hundreds of Veterans

At Salisbury VA Health Care System in North Carolina, VA offers Veterans with BPH another option called aquablation. It’s more effective than pills but has fewer side effects than surgery.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently approved it for use with patients.

The doctor removes excess prostate tissue with a robot-controlled water jet, using 3D imaging to guide it. The procedure relieves symptoms with less risk of sexual side effects.

A male physician at his desk next to a computer monitor

Dr. Gopal Badlani of Salisbury VA

“As Salisbury Chief of Urology, I was part of the two trial studies that led the FDA to approve aquablation,” said Dr. Badlani. “The symptoms of an enlarged prostate can be frustrating and upsetting. There are hundreds of Veterans suffering from BPH in our area. That’s why we are so pleased by the results we see from this new treatment.

“One older Veteran who recently had the procedure said, ‘I’m glad I did it. I’m a blessed man, I’ll put it that way.’ When I told him that he would no longer have to take drugs for his symptoms he said, ‘That sounds pretty good. I got rid of two pills right there.’

“We believe this treatment has the potential to change the way we treat men with BPH in a very basic way.”

Marlous Black is a Public Affairs Officer at the Salisbury VA Medical Center

Photos by Luke Thompson

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Published on Aug. 13, 2019

Estimated reading time is 1.9 min.

Views to date: 587


  1. Amapiano September 12, 2019 at 4:25 am

    My grand dad had a really difficult time in his old age because of Prostate cancer. It’s great to see there’s new improvement in that area.

  2. John M Socie September 2, 2019 at 1:37 pm

    When will Aquablation come to Pittsburgh Pa VA

  3. Frank C. Allen August 18, 2019 at 5:03 pm

    What about the Urolift?

  4. peter pruitt August 17, 2019 at 11:14 am

    sexual side effects? still be able to have a full sexual life?

  5. Ray August 16, 2019 at 2:16 pm

    How does this help when the VA did nothing but give more pills for my prostate. Reactive not proactive!
    Went to outside urologist and I had stage 4, Gleason 9 prostate cancer and the VA never knew it.
    YES I AM PISSED OFF! Because after surgery they had to take a lot of the neck of the bladder. So all I do is piss. This may have been able to be prevented. OR NOT! Go Temple Hosp.
    Oh yes no claim approved yet!!!!
    Udorn and Korat 71-72

  6. Ron Klotz August 16, 2019 at 1:03 pm


  7. Ken Dee August 16, 2019 at 11:35 am

    When can vets go to private doctors or dentists, eye docs etc. Do we get a special card to present to whom we go to? Is it only a walk In facility .
    When will this info be presented to us?

  8. Michael Quinn August 16, 2019 at 11:00 am

    I am about to consent to prostate surgery to reduce size. Aquablation is needed at the PaloAlto VA Hospital now.

  9. allan bullock August 15, 2019 at 5:18 pm

    How about availability in Palo Alto, CA?

  10. Francis R DE ST AUBIN August 15, 2019 at 1:51 pm

    Discussed this procedure with personnel at VA Medical Annex in Austell, GA for possible procedure at VA Medical Center is Decatur, GA. I was told that the response from Urology in Decatur was not interested and not approved by FDA anyway.
    Article indicated that this is approved by FDA.
    Looks to me like this information was pre-mature to giving more info VA as to when available at their local VA.

  11. Darryl Walter Puzan August 15, 2019 at 1:42 pm

    When will Aquablation be available in Philadelphia VA?

  12. Bill Lawrence August 15, 2019 at 8:31 am

    My civilian Urologist, laughed at this. I am not at all happy with his attitude. I have had the UROLIFT procedure done and have had more complications than I can put up with at this point.

  13. Ngyab August 15, 2019 at 6:15 am

    when will aquabiation be available at the Phoenix VA

  14. Don Buchanan August 14, 2019 at 3:48 pm

    When will aquabiation come to Houston, TX ?

  15. Arnold Cabral August 14, 2019 at 12:24 pm

    Does anyone know lf you know if you can is 100 percent service connected go to the Robotic machines protable from AZ.

  16. Brennock J Hoyt August 14, 2019 at 5:42 am

    Sounds terrific!
    Will Bay Pines VA healthcare system in St. Petersburg, Florida get this procedure? If so when?

  17. Myra Emerson August 14, 2019 at 2:12 am

    My husband has had at least 3 TURPs with minimal results. He tried self-catherization but kept getting UTIs. Now he has a Foley catheter but has really withdrawn from life since getting the catheter. He is seeing a psychologist for depression but I have not seen any improvement in a year. I am wondering if he would be a candidate for this procedure.

  18. arcshieldsct@frontier.com August 13, 2019 at 7:54 pm

    do they have enough medical staff trained to make this available nationwide to all VAMC in say, a month or less?

  19. Mike Williams August 13, 2019 at 7:23 pm

    I wish this roto rooter was in VA treatment in my VA tools. Or should hitch hick across the country?

  20. JESSE E FLOWERS August 13, 2019 at 6:54 pm

    Much needed procedure at Jesse Brown VA, Chicago,IL

  21. JESSE E FLOWERS August 13, 2019 at 6:51 pm

    When will aquabiation come to Chicago, IL VA?

  22. Daniel Howard August 13, 2019 at 5:38 pm

    I would like to see laser treatment for toenail fungus be available to veterans.

    • Rod Kulstad August 16, 2019 at 11:03 am

      About 6 months ago, I started having toenail fungus problems. Did some research and found available treatments were expensive, lengthy ( big pharma design ) and not without side effects. Found a home remedy site that was highly touted by many users that involved putting a small amount of baking soda in the toes of my white socks eery morning. I scrub my toenails with a nail brush during my daily shower and put the baking soda in my socks. After 3 months of this routine, the fungus is a non issue. Everyone is different, but this natural solution without side effects and very inexpensive, has so far solved my fungus problem.

    • Arthur W. Luke Jr. SKIP August 16, 2019 at 11:30 am

      I totally agree. New York VA’s need to also provide toe nail fungus treatments to end the fungus, once and for all.

  23. Daniel Howard August 13, 2019 at 5:34 pm

    It sounds like a very safe treatment. Fortunately at 76 I don’t need this treatment yet. But I would like to see laser treatment for toenail fungus be available for veterans.

  24. Herman Harrell August 13, 2019 at 5:27 pm

    Will this be available at Durham, NC VA?

  25. George C Atkinson August 13, 2019 at 5:24 pm

    Is this procedure the same as the one where steam is used? Is this procedure available nation wide or just in NC? If the aquabiation is VA approved when will we see this offered at all VA’s?

  26. Thomas French August 13, 2019 at 5:04 pm

    When will aquabiation come to Houston, TX VA?

  27. john f. Gusich Jr August 13, 2019 at 4:29 pm

    when will aquabiation be available at the Phoenix VA

  28. wayman nelson August 13, 2019 at 4:25 pm

    How often are treatments? How many? Are the Robotic machines portable. When will the aquabiation treatments come to Loma Linda Riverside VA?

  29. Humidificateur August 13, 2019 at 4:06 pm

    I hope that this new medical technology will help many patients. I’m under treatment for prosthetic problems and I’m looking forward to this technology being available in Europe.

  30. warren hughes August 13, 2019 at 3:23 pm

    When will it be available at Loma Linda Ca. and how can i get into the trial study?

  31. Roy Makio August 13, 2019 at 2:32 pm

    This is truly a breakthrough for Veterans with problems with an enlarged prostate. Is there a projected timeframe on when this capability may become available for those with an enlarged prostate in treatment facilities in the Hawaii/Pacific Islands area?
    Thank you.

  32. Leon W Heselton August 13, 2019 at 1:59 pm

    When will aquabiation come to Syracuse, NY VA?

Comments are closed.

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