|MP 7.01.52||Transurethral Microwave Thermotherapy|
|Original Policy Date
|Last Review Status/Date
Reviewed with literature search/8:2012
|Return to Medical Policy Index|
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Transurethral microwave thermotherapy (TUMT) has been proposed as an alternative to transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP), or daily medical therapy, for patients who have benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). Although TURP has been historically considered definitive treatment, complications from this treatment have encouraged the development of less invasive techniques.
Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) is a condition which may lead to lower urinary tract symptoms such as urinary frequency, nocturia, urinary hesitancy and feeling of incomplete voiding. Histologic evidence of BPH is present in approximately 50% of men at age 50 and the prevalence increases with advancing age. Glandular overgrowth causes progressive occlusion of the prostatic portion of the urethra in men, and will cause lower urinary tract symptoms to varying degrees. Transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP) is one of the most commonly performed surgeries and is generally well tolerated, but is not without potential complications, such as blood loss (with or without the need for transfusion), retrograde ejaculation and incontinence. (1) Transurethral resection syndrome is an adverse effect that can occur in up to 2% of cases. The syndrome is caused by absorption of bladder irrigation fluids during the TURP procedure. (2) Depending on the severity, this syndrome can lead to hyponatremia and fluid overload with subsequent neurological and cardiac complications. Less invasive techniques have been investigated using various energy sources, such as laser, direct heat, microwave, radiofrequency and ultrasound. With these techniques, a calculated amount of prostate tissue is destroyed and reabsorbed while leaving the epithelium of the urethral canal relatively intact. This policy addresses the use of microwave energy in the reduction of urethral occlusion and lower urinary tract symptoms.
The goal of microwave thermotherapy is destruction of the prostatic adenoma in the lateral lobes of the prostate to achieve improvement in symptoms and voiding. A transurethral catheter containing a microwave antenna that limits microwave radiation is placed at the prostatic level. Water circulating through the catheter cools the urethra. A Foley-type balloon at the end of the catheter inflates to position the catheter, and fiberoptic sensors are positioned to monitor rectal and urethral temperatures. The correct position of the catheter is verified using transrectal ultrasound of the prostate. The electromagnetic waves emit high-energy photons that interact with molecules in prostatic tissue, producing heat.
Transurethral microwave thermotherapy (TUMT) produces coagulation necrosis of the lateral lobes of the prostate for a distance up to 17 mm from the urethra with the preservation of the urethral surface, distal sphincter, urethral mucosa, bladder neck, and peripheral prostate.
In October 2000, the FDA issued an alert regarding 16 unexpected cases of fistula formation or urethral or penile tissue damage following the use of transurethral microwave thermotherapy devices. In this alert, the FDA recommended ensuring the patient meets criteria for eligible prostate size and had not previously received radiation to the area. It further recommended that the physician remain with the patient throughout the procedure, to verify placement at all times, and to monitor any unusual pain reported. The patient is not to be oversedated. (3)
In December 2002, the “Prostalund® CoreTherm™ System” (Prostalund Operations AB, Concord, MA) was approved by the FDA through the premarket approval (PMA) process for use in men with a prostate size of 30 to 100 grams and prostatic urethra length of 35 mm or greater. Although similar to previous microwave thermotherapy devices, the company sought premarket approval due to the addition of temperature feedback features intended to address the safety concerns noted in the 2000 FDA alert described above.
Transurethral microwave thermotherapy for benign prostatic hyperplasia may be considered medically necessary for patients who, based on severity of their BPH symptoms, would be candidates for transurethral resection of the prostate and who have prostatic lengths of 35–50 mm.
For technical reasons, transurethral microwave thermotherapy is not suitable for patients who have median lobe enlargement, bladder neck stenosis, or in whom the prostate gland exceeds 50 mm in length or 70 g in volume.
Microwave thermotherapy is not to be confused with an earlier technique of microwave treatment, microwave hyperthermia, which has largely been abandoned. In 1998, a CPT code (53850) was introduced that specifically describes microwave thermotherapy.
BlueCard/National Account Issues
This policy was originally created in 1996 and was regularly updated with searches of the MEDLINE database through 2002. The policy was on “no further review” status from 2002 until 2010. Literature updates resumed in 2010; the most recent MEDLINE search was performed for the period June 2011 through June 2012. Following is a summary of the key literature to date:
This policy was initially developed following a 1996 TEC Assessment that evaluated transurethral thermotherapy. (4) The Assessment concluded that the results of studies published at the time provided sufficient evidence on the beneficial and harmful outcomes of transurethral microwave thermotherapy (TUMT). Specifically, 2 clinical trials, one randomized and one nonrandomized, had compared microwave thermotherapy with transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP). The findings of these trials were supplemented with 5 randomized controlled trials (RCTs) comparing TUMT with a sham procedure, as well as a number of published clinical series. Evidence from a randomized trial showed that both TUMT and TURP produce significant relief of the symptoms of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), although TURP was associated with significantly greater improvement after 1 year of follow-up. Moreover, while symptom relief following TURP appeared to be greater, fewer major complications were seen with TUMT.
In October 2007, Hoffman and colleagues produced a meta-analysis of 14 RCTs on transurethral microwave thermotherapy for BPH involving a total of 1,493 patients. (5) Six trials were comparisons of microwave thermotherapy with TURP, 7 were comparisons with sham thermotherapy, and 1 was a comparison with alpha blocker therapy. The range of duration of the studies was 3 to 60 months; the mean age of subjects was 66.8 years. Baseline characteristics of urinary flow rate (8.6 mL/sec [range: 7.9 to 10.1]) and symptom scores (19.5 [range 15.7 to 21.3]) were similar. Outcomes were reported in urinary flow rate and International Prostate Symptom Scores (IPSS) or converted to IPSS equivalents. The studies included extended follow-up from studies included in the TEC Assessment, as well as new RCTs initiated after the TEC Assessment. The meta-analysis offered the following observations and conclusions:
- The pooled mean urinary symptom score decreased by 65% with TUMT and 77% with TURP. The weighted mean difference (WMD) for the symptom score was -1.36 (95% confidence interval [CI]: -2.25 to -0.46), favoring TURP. The pooled mean peak urinary flow increased by 70% with TUMT and 119% with TURP. The WMD for peak urinary flow was 5.08 mL/sec (95% CI: 3.88 to 6.28), favoring TURP.
- Compared to TURP, TUMT was associated with a decreased risk of retrograde ejaculation, treatment for strictures, hematuria, blood transfusions and the transurethral resection syndrome. TUMT was associated with an increase in dysuria, urinary retention, and retreatment for BPH symptoms.
- Compared to the sham procedures, microwave thermotherapy also improved symptom scores (WMD: -4.75, 95% CI: -3.89 to -5.60) on the IPSS and peak urinary flow (WMD: 1.67 mL/s, 95% CI: 0.99 to 2.34).
- In the single study comparing TUMT to alpha blockade, TUMT led to greater improvement in symptom scores (WMD: -4.20, 95% CI: -3.15 to -5.25) and peak urinary flow (WMD: 2.30 mL/s, 95% CI: 1.47 to 3.13) than in the group receiving alpha blockers.
Since 2008, no new randomized controlled trials on microwave thermotherapy for BPH have been published, and no ongoing randomized trials were identified in the online clinicaltrials.gov database.
In 2012, Biester and colleagues published a systematic review of studies comparing standard surgical treatment to minimally invasive procedures in the treatment of BPH. (6) Seven RCTs with a total of 675 patients were identified that evaluated TUMT; 6 trials compared TUMT to TURP and 1 trial compared it to transurethral incision of the prostate. In the studies, the mean prostatic size ranged from 34 to 72 mL, and patients were followed for a mean of 6 to 60 months. The systematic review aimed to determine whether the minimally invasive treatments were non-inferior to surgery. The authors noted that none of the trials investigated non-inferiority, and they therefore based their threshold, 0.25 standard deviations (SD), for non-inferiority on the published literature. In a meta-analysis of study findings, the authors found that TUMT did not meet their threshold to be considered non-inferior to standard procedures. The pooled SD at 18-24 months was 0.46 (i.e., greater than 0.25) and the 95% CI was 0.15 to 0.77. The authors concluded that there is a lack of high-quality RCTs and RCTs that are designed to investigate non-inferiority.
Although not clearly superior to standard surgical therapy with transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP), transurethral microwave thermotherapy (TUMT) is an effective therapeutic option and has fewer adverse effects. There is sufficient evidence for patient and providers considering a surgical intervention to make an informed choice between resection of the prostate and transurethral microwave thermotherapy. Therefore, transurethral microwave thermotherapy may be considered medically necessary in men who meet the conditions in the policy statement.
Practice Guidelines and Position Statements
The American Urological Association (AUA) last updated clinical guidelines for BPH in 2010. (7) The guideline states that, based on a review of the data and consensus of an expert panel, TUMT is a treatment option for BPH. According to the guideline, TUMT is effective in partially relieving lower urinary tract symptoms secondary to BPH and may be considered for men with moderate or severe symptoms.
In 2011, the European Association of Urology (EAU) published guidelines on the treatment of non-neurogenic lower urinary tract symptoms in men. The guidelines included the following statements on TUMT (8):
“TUMT achieves symptom improvement comparable to TURP, but is associated with decreased morbidity and lower flow improvements” and “Durability is in favor of TURP with lower re-treatment rates compared to TUMT”.
Medicare National Coverage
There is no national coverage determination.
- Petrovich Z, Ameye F, Baert L et al. New trends in the treatment of benign prostatic hyperplasia and carcinoma of the prostate. Am J Clin Oncol 1993; 16(3):187-200.
- Mebust WK, Holtgrewe HL, Cockett AT et al. Transurethral prostatectomy: immediate and postoperative complications. Cooperative study of 13 participating institutions evaluating 3,885 patients. J Urol, 141: 243-247, 1989. J Urol 2002; 167(1):5-9.
- FDA Public Health Notification 2000 Archived document. FDA Public Health Notification: Serious Injuries from Microwave Thermotherapy for Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia. Available online at: http://www.fda.gov/MedicalDevices/Safety/AlertsandNotices/PublicHealthNotifications/UCM062277. Last accessed June, 2012.
- Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association Technology Evaluation Center (TEC). Transurethral microwave thermotherapy for benign prostatic hyperplasia. TEC Assessments 1996; Volume 11, Tab 19.
- Hoffman RM, Monga M, Elliot SP et al. Microwave thermotherapy for benign prostatic hyperplasia. Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2007; (4):CD004135.
- Biester K, Skipka G, Jahn R et al. Systematic review of surgical treatments for benign prostatic hyperplasia and presentation of an approach to investigate therapeutic equivalence (non-inferiority). BJU Int 2012; 109(5):722-30.
- American Urological Association. Management of BPH, revised 2010. Available online at: http://www.auanet.org/content/guidelines-and-quality-care/clinical-guidelines.cfm. Last accessed June, 2012.
- European Association of Urology. Guidelines on the treatment of non-neurogenic male LUTS. Available online at: www.guideline.gov. Last accessed June, 2012.
|CPT||53850||Transurethral destruction of prostate tissue; by microwave thermotherapy|
|ICD-9 Procedure||60.29||Other transurethral prostatectomy|
|ICD-9 Diagnosis||600||Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH)|
|ICD-10-CM (effective 10/1/13)||N40.0-N40.1||Enlarged prostate (includes BPH), code range|
|ICD-10-PCS (effective 10/1/13)||ICD-10-PCS codes are only used for inpatient services.|
|0V507ZZ||Destruction, male reproductive system, prostate, via natural or artificial opening|
|0V508ZZ||Destruction, male reproductive system, prostate, via natural or artificial opening, endoscopic|
|Type of Service||Surgery|
|Place of Service||Outpatient
Microwave thermotherapy, transurethral
Thermotherapy, transurethral microwave, for benign prostatic hyperplasia
Transurethral microwave thermotherapy for benign prostatic hyperplasia
|11/30/96||Add to Surgery section||New policy|
|01/30/98||Replace policy||Reviewed with changes; new CPT codes|
|4/15/02||Replace policy||Policy reviewed by consensus; new review date only|
|07/17/03||Replace policy||Policy no longer scheduled for review|
|08/12/10||Replace policy||Policy returned to active review. Policy updated with literature search through June 2010; references 1-9 added. Policy statement unchanged.|
|8/11/11||Replace policy||Policy updated with literature search through June 2011; references 7-8 added; other references renumbered or removed. Policy statement unchanged.|
|08/09/12||Replace policy||Policy updated with literature search through June 2012; references 6 and 8 added; other references renumbered or removed. Policy statement unchanged.|