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J Urol. 1998 Jul;160(1):12-6; discussion 16-7.

5-year outcome of surgical resection and watchful waiting for men with moderately symptomatic benign prostatic hyperplasia: a Department of Veterans Affairs cooperative study.

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  • 1Cooperative Studies Program of the Research and Development Service, Department of Veterans Affairs, Hines, Illinois, USA.



We determine outcomes after 5 years of followup for men who were randomized to receive transurethral resection or watchful waiting for moderate symptoms of benign prostatic hyperplasia.


A total of 556 patients were evaluated up to 60 months after randomization providing 966 patient-years of followup for transurethral prostatic resection and 990 for watchful waiting. Patients randomized to watchful waiting were evaluated according to whether they remained on treatment or crossed over to surgery. Outcomes included treatment failure, a genitourinary symptom score, peak flow rate, post-void residual urine volume and the degree of bother from genitourinary symptoms.


All outcomes were significantly better for transurethral prostatic resection than for watchful waiting. Treatment failure rates were 10% for transurethral prostatic resection versus 21% for watchful waiting (p = 0.0004). The crossover rate at 5 years was 36% and was positively associated with the degree of bother. Men with low pretreatment peak flow rates who were randomized to transurethral prostatic resection had 85% greater improvement in peak flow rate than comparable men who were randomized to watchful waiting and eventually crossed over to resection. However, after crossover, bother from genitourinary symptoms was similar to that of the resection group.


For men with moderate symptoms of benign prostatic hyperplasia transurethral prostatic resection has more favorable outcomes up to 5 years of followup compared to watchful waiting. While many men do well on watchful waiting, those who undergo transurethral prostatic resection after a trial of watchful waiting have less improvement in measures of bladder function than men randomized to resection, although there is no difference in serious adverse outcomes or bother from genitourinary symptoms.

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