Like most of the less-invasive out-patient alternatives to TURP, Radio Frequency (RF) ablation (sometimes referred to as “TUNA” which means Trans-Urethral Needle Ablation, relies on the use of radio waves to heat the prostatic tissue, basically “cooking it” thus causing the tissue to die. Some of the dead (or “necrosed” tissue) is reabsorbed into the body, some forms scar tissue and some sloughs off and is eliminated from the body in the urine over several weeks following the procedure.
Once the volume of tissue in the prostate is reduced, the constrictive pressure on the urethra subsides and urinary symptoms improve. The clinical results are therefore realized over time.
RF ablation involves a fairly large caliber instrument which is inserted trans-urethrally (through the penis). Once the device is positioned, RF needles are extended out of the device into the prostate. One complaint levied against TUNA is that it can be uncomfortable both during insertion of the device, extension of the needles and during delivery of the therapy. Additionally, TUNA lacks the level of precision or operator control that some other surgical treatments offer.