For years when Mike Kammerer underwent physical exams at the doctor’s office, he heard the same thing, “Continue to monitor your prostate.”
The 72-year-old Whiting resident, a husband and father, knew he had an enlarged prostate.
“I was putting up with it,” he says.
That nagging situation that he had set on the back burner lurched to the forefront when he experienced a mild stroke and needed a stent.
“First, they said there was an issue with my kidneys because my bladder was not draining due to the enlarged prostate,” Kammerer recalls. “My prostate was three times the size of a normal one.”
That is when Kammerer learned about Holmium Laser Enucleation of the Prostate, or HoLEP. A less-invasive procedure than traditional surgery, the surgeon uses a laser to remove tissue that is blocking urine flow through the prostate. A separate instrument is then used to resize the prostate tissue into easily removable fragments. This approach drastically reduces the need for repeat treatment.
Kammerer’s doctor, Community Care Network urologist Kevin Parikh, MD, is among the physicians on staff at the hospitals of Community Healthcare System skilled in the procedure. Community Hospital, St. Catherine Hospital and St. Mary Medical Center are committed to providing their patients with the most advanced treatment options and specialized care.
Kammerer was intrigued by HoLEP and impressed with Parikh’s training.
“I went online and started reading about it,” he says.
Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), a condition also called prostate gland enlargement, is common in men older than 50. Those who suffer from BPH have prostate growth that blocks urine flow. Men with BPH can experience urinary urgency and frequency, inability to urinate or loss of urinary control. Patients with advanced BPH could end up in kidney failure if left untreated.
Minimally invasive surgical options for BPH include transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP) and transurethral incision of the prostate (TUIP). However, those methods carry risks for unwanted side effects and the need for retreatment. In comparison, the HoLEP procedure removes the obstructing prostate tissue to allow men to return to normal urination.
“In my opinion, this is the most definitive operation for BPH,” Parikh says. “It is a minimally invasive procedure to remove excess tissue from the inner portion of the prostate, using cameras and state-of-the- art lasers. Traditionally, the alternative was through a large incision in the belly. This treatment uses no incisions.”
“This is the best opportunity for a one and done-type of procedure,” Parikh explains. “The chance is less than 1 percent that a man will need to treat BPH again in his life after undergoing HoLEP.”
Kammerer had the procedure at St. Catherine Hospital in East Chicago. He came out of surgery with a catheter to empty his bladder and began urinating on his own the next morning.
“I do not have pain or leakage,” he says.
Within eight weeks, he felt nearly normal.
“There was no pain at all, only the discomfort of having the catheter in,” he recalls.
HoLEP offers quicker recovery times with men typically going home within 24 hours of the procedure.
“I have already treated many patients in the area. They are enjoying a better quality of life with urinary relief,” Parikh says.
Kammerer says he has experienced some side effects, namely passing blood occasionally in his urine, however Parikh was attentive and reassuring.
“He explained that it is normal, which made me feel better,” Kammerer says. “He is a super doctor. He will take as much time as you need. He even called me at home a couple of times to make sure I was doing OK. That meant a lot. I have recommended a few of my friends to go see Dr. Parikh.”
For more information about urology services at Community Healthcare System, visit
COMHS.org/services/urology or call 219-703-2032.